USCA Statement on USDA APHIS Brucella Research Draft Policy Statement

(OCTOBER 14, 2020) – On Wednesday, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a draft policy statement through the Federal Select Agent Program (FSAP) on research with Brucella species in outdoor settings.

United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) Animal Health and Identification Committee Chairman Dwight Keller issued the following statement:

“For years, USCA and other animal health leaders have called for the allowance of Brucella research to study vaccine responses to natural infections in cattle, swine, elk, or bison. However, the inclusion of certain Brucella strains on the U.S. Select Agents and Toxins List has severely limited the ability of researchers to perform these kinds of studies. In 1996, the U.S. had 11 facilities capable of performing this type of research – now, there is virtually no such facility capable of studying large mammals in containment while also following proper biosecurity protocols.

“Though certain Brucella strains will remain on the Select Agents list, this recent announcement by USDA APHIS broadens the scope of possibilities by allowing for the consideration of Brucella research in outdoor settings by the Federal Select Agents Program (FSAP), something which multiple state veterinarians and members of USCA’s Animal Health Committee have advocated for. USCA commends USDA APHIS for taking this important first step towards the eradication of brucellosis in domestic animals and wildlife.”

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