Montana Administrative Register Notice 32-9-198 No. 3   02/11/2010    
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In the matter of the amendment of ARM 32.3.104, 32.3.106, 32.3.212, 32.3.501 through 32.3.506, and adoption of NEW RULE I (32.3.507) and NEW RULE II (32.3.508) pertaining to Trichomoniasis and NEW RULE III (32.3.138), NEW RULE IV (32.3.139), NEW RULE V (32.3.140), and NEW RULE VI (32.3.141) pertaining to Deputy State Veterinarians













TO:  All Concerned Persons


1.  On October 29, 2009 the Department of Livestock published MAR Notice No. 32-9-198 pertaining to the proposed amendment and adoption of the above-stated rules at page 1852 of the 2009 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 20.


2.  On November 12, 2009 the Department of Livestock published an amended MAR Notice No. 32-9-198 pertaining to the proposed amendment and adoption of the above-stated rules at page 2092 of the 2009 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 21.


3.  The department has amended and adopted the following rules as proposed:  ARM 32.3.104, 32.3.106, 32.3.212, 32.3.503, 32.3.504, 32.3.506, NEW RULE II (32.3.508), NEW RULE III (32.3.138), NEW RULE IV (32.3.139), and NEW RULE VI (32.3.141).


4.  The department has amended and adopted the following rules as proposed, but with the following changes from the original proposal, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:


32.3.501  DEFINITIONS  in this subchapter:

(1)  through (15) remain as proposed.

(16)  "Negative T. foetus bull" is a bull that T. foetus has not been detected in a prepucial preputial scraping, which has not commingled with female cattle since that test, and which qualifies by one of the following:

(a) through (d) remain as proposed.

(17)  "Official Trichomoniasis test" means the sampling procedure conducted by a deputy state Trichomoniasis certified veterinarian of the preputial content of a sexually intact male bovine and submitted to an approved laboratory to identify Tritrichomonas foetus by in vitro cultivation three weekly cultures, an individual PCR test, or other test approved by the state veterinarian.

(18)  through (31) remain as proposed.


            AUTH: 81-2-102, 81-2-103, MCA

            IMP:                81-2-102, MCA



(a)  Nonvirgin male cattle must be negative to one Trichomoniasis test by PCR and originate from a herd not known to be infected with T. foetus, or to three official Trichomoniasis culture tests. Bulls must be sexually rested for at least two weeks prior to the first test.  For the culture tests:

(i)  through (c) remain as proposed.

(d)  Test eligible bulls sold, loaned, leased, or otherwise acquired without a negative test are in violation of ARM 32.3.502 considered positive and must be disposed of per ARM 32.3.505.  If the bull has been identified as being sold, loaned, leased, or otherwise acquired without a negative Trichomoniasis test he and must be quarantined away from females and tested as in ARM 32.3.502(1).  The owner is liable for any fine, expenses, and/or misdemeanor ticket as stated in new penalty rule.


            AUTH: 81-2-102, 81-2-103, 81-2-707, MCA

            IMP:                81-2-102, 81-2-703, MCA


32.3.505  DISPOSITION OF TEST POSITIVE ANIMALS  (1)  through (4)(a) remain as proposed.

            (b)  all requirements conditions in (3)(e)(i) through (iii) have been met as applicable.

            (5)  and (6) remain as proposed.


AUTH: 81-2-102, 81-2-103, MCA

IMP:                81-2-102, 81-2-108, MCA


            NEW RULE I (32.3.507)  PUBLIC GRAZING AND GRAZING ASSOCIATIONS          (1)  All bulls from multiple sources commingling in common pasture(s) that include male and female cattle grazing associations and/or public lands or multiple user permits shall have the official Trichomoniasis foetus test as in ARM 32.3.502(1)(a) conducted after the last breeding season and within ten months prior to next season's turn out.  This test is valid for the next year's breeding season unless bulls are commingled with female cattle.  Virgin bulls added to a herd are exempt from testing requirements during their first breeding season.

            (a)  through (c) remain as proposed.


            AUTH:             81-2-102, 81-2-103, MCA

            IMP:                81-2-102, 81-2-108, MCA



            (1)  through (1)(e) remain as proposed.

            (f)  file a monthly form regarding other important reportable diseases;

            (g)  remains as proposed.


            AUTH: 81-2-102, 81-2-103, MCA

            IMP:                81-2-102, 81-2-108, MCA


5.  The department has thoroughly considered the comments and testimony received.  A summary of the comments received and the department's responses are as follows:


COMMENT #1:  Virgin statement should be enough; too expensive to test bull three times.


RESPONSE #1:  Virgin statement affidavit is accepted for bulls 12-24 months of age; older virgin bulls may be tested with one PCR rather than three weekly cultures.


COMMENT #2:  Would like to see imported bison to be Trichomoniasis tested negative as bison are prone to wandering far from their home range and would be a serious problem if they transmitted the disease to cattle herds.


RESPONSE #2:  There is little or no evidence at this time to suggest that bison transmit Tritrichomonas foetus.


COMMENT #3:  Who put the educational material together that is to be provided to owners in ARM 32.3.506?  Can I get a sample of it?  Were any boarded theriogenologists consulted on this material? 


RESPONSE #3:  Educational information is available on our web site, and also from the web sites of Colorado and Washington Departments of Agriculture.  Most of their material has been provided by Animal Scientists and Cooperative Extension.  Proposed changes to ARM 32.3.501 through the New Rules were sent to three bovine reproductive specialists (theriogenologists) and to one laboratory director outside the Department of Livestock.  Auburn University, Colorado State University, and the Great Plains Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska were solicited for comments regarding the proposed rule.


COMMENT #4:  Does this ARM apply on reservations?


RESPONSE #4:  No, Montana Animal Health law does not apply to sovereign Tribal Nations, only to those cattle that are moving within the state system, such as county movements or to a livestock market or to slaughter movements.  However, it does apply when animals are moved into Montana from reservations.


COMMENT #5:  On page 1861- These prices do not include the InPouch or the sampling procedure.


RESPONSE #5:  The economic analysis has not changed from existing rule to the proposed changes regarding supplies used for sampling.  One pouch would be used for PCR, three pouches for three cultures. Veterinary fees are individualized and are not able to be estimated or averaged.


COMMENT #6:  The local brand inspector is becoming overwhelmed by animal health issues from Brucellosis to Trichomoniasis and some of these rules are overkill.


RESPONSE #6:  The local brand inspector is a critical component to a functioning Department of Livestock in tracking animal movements and preventing the spread of livestock diseases.  The department is dedicated to increasing education and providing support for these inspectors through the district brand investigators and by providing more public information about livestock diseases.


COMMENT #7:  ARM 32.3.502(d) says bulls sold, loaned, leased, or otherwise acquired found to be without test must be treated as positive and sent to slaughter.  This is too aggressive to force the sale of these bulls since there is now a fine and a misdemeanor ticket.


RESPONSE #7:  The department agrees and has changed the language to be: (d)  Test eligible bulls sold, loaned, leased, or otherwise acquired without a negative test are in violation of ARM 32.3.502 and must be quarantined away from females and tested.  The owner is liable for any fine, expenses, and/or misdemeanor ticket as stated in new penalty rule.


COMMENT #8:  How are these proposals to be enforced?  Numerous times the state office has told me there is not enough manpower to enforce the equine shipped semen regulations; therefore, how will the manpower be present to enforce new Trich proposals?


RESPONSE #8:  Administrative staff handles import permits, including shipped equine semen, while three regional animal health/brand investigators plus 16 district brand inspectors perform local investigations, quarantine, and movement controls.


COMMENT #9:  I was told brand inspectors would be in charge of manpower and enforcement.  How will grazing association testing be enforced if the cattle are not crossing county lines?


RESPONSE #9:  Like any management program, the key critical component is education and voluntary testing by participants for the benefit of the state's livestock industry.  Peer pressure helps, but unless the violations are passed on to brand inspectors there will be minimal enforcement on animal movement within the county.


COMMENT #10:  On page 1858 New Rule I(1)(c) how is this to be collected?


RESPONSE #10:  At the time of the testing, the veterinarian is due the cost of testing and it will be enforced by the department.


COMMENT #11:  If positive animals that are ordered to be quarantined get out, who is responsible?  The state for ordering quarantine or rancher? 


RESPONSE #11:  An owner of any livestock is responsible for their animals straying or moving off land owned or controlled by them, according to statute.  The Trichomoniasis rule does not affect current law.  The goal of this rule is to balance disease detection, prevention, eradication, at the same time allowing the cattle industry to continue to thrive without interfering unnecessarily with commerce. 


COMMENT #12:  What determines if exposed herds may be quarantined as in ARM 32.3.506(3)?


RESPONSE #12:  Epidemiological investigation of positive animals commingling with other herds determines exposure and quarantine.


COMMENT #13:  On page 1856 ARM 32.3 503(1) if the lab reports positives, why does the practitioner also need to repeat?


RESPONSE #13:  ARM 32.3.201 requires veterinarian reporting of many diseases.  In this day and age of electronic laboratory notification it can happen that faxes or e-mails don't get delivered.  There are also out of state labs that may not report to the Department of Livestock as well as some in clinic culture screening tests that are being performed.  Most often with Trichomoniasis, the department is calling the veterinarian to inform them of the result so no further reporting is required.


COMMENT #14:  Is there any deadline for the state veterinarian or epidemiologist to respond to owner of positive Trich animals?


RESPONSE #14:  The goal of the department is to notify the veterinarian first and then the owner within two working days of receiving the results.  This is a seasonally detected disease, and we do get inundated during certain times and rely on the veterinarian to provide information to the producer regarding the Montana Trich program, including restriction of movement of the positive animal and the requirement for slaughter unless a retest is requested.


COMMENT #15:  ARM 32.3.503(2) what is the need to report negative Trich animals?


RESPONSE #15:  Negative test results are important to gather statistics to determine incidence of disease per tested cattle per county or state.  If a county does not have any Trich reported, is it because they truly don't have the disease or is it because they are not testing bulls?  This is a question that is asked repeatedly by producers all over the state - they want to know where testing is going on and if they have Trich in their county.


COMMENT #16:  For ARM 32.3.505(2) is self slaughter appropriate for disposal?  What if the ranch sells all bulls?


RESPONSE #16:  Self slaughter has been allowed as long as a third party documents the death.  Usually a district brand inspector performs this task on farm or at a custom slaughter house, although, a veterinarian may also confirm the death.  The owner at any time may sell all of his bulls to slaughter from a positive herd, including any that are negative.  He is not required to continue to retest them, but they may only move as described in ARM 32.3.505(3)(a).


COMMENT #17:  The Epidemiological Investigation appears to consist of only phone calls to producers; it is not a true epidemiological investigation.


RESPONSE #17:  The department's epidemiological investigation consists of veterinarian and owner notification, mandatory neighbor notification by phone or a district brand inspector visit, notifications to local and county veterinarians, maintaining data on bull movements and possible exposure sources, and education.  In response to this comment the department has requested an epidemiologist to review the standard operating procedure for investigating a positive Trich animal.


COMMENT #18:  Why does a contract veterinarian call practitioners to report when a Trich bull is diagnosed in a county?  In my opinion, this is running up the bill for the state.  This money would be more wisely spent on Trich education or reservation testing.


RESPONSE #18:  Prior to hiring the private veterinarian, many veterinarians had called to complain that they did not know that Trich was in their area and have requested this information be made available to them as soon after initial contact is made with the primary veterinarian and the owner.


COMMENT #19:  On page 1860 what is the breakdown of the 118 positive bulls between ranch surveillance and sale of nonvirgin bulls?  Is the Trich rule diagnosing these animals or is ranch management? 


RESPONSE #19:  The majority of these bulls have been found due to an increase in testing requirements on grazing associations as well as reproductive management of the herd by the veterinarian.


COMMENT #20:  We are against the testing requirement for common grazing associations.


RESPONSE #20:  Bulls running in common pastures from multiple sources are at the highest risk for transmitting Trichomoniasis.  The department encourages grazing associations to reduce risk by good management practices including: using all virgin bulls, using only cows with calves at their sides or virgin heifers, and testing all returning bulls prior to breeding season.  This additional ruling allows the producer flexibility to test the bulls after being separated from the cows for a minimum of two weeks, and using that negative test for the next breeding season (up to ten months) providing he is kept separate from all female cattle.


COMMENT #21:  The new grazing section is ambiguous and maybe misconstrued by private, state, or federal land owners to require Trich testing on single source herds going onto leased lands.


RESPONSE #21:  The department agrees and is proposing new language for New Rule I.  "All bulls from multiple sources commingling in common pasture(s) that includes male and female cattle shall have the official Trichomoniasis foetus test conducted within ten months prior to next season's turn out."


COMMENT #22:  On page 1858 New Rule I Public Grazing:  Why is the Trich test good for ten months and on page 1856 import bulls Trich test expires in 90 days?  No consistency on times.


RESPONSE #22:  Time of test expiration is different because of different environments and bull usage.  The 90-day test with no commingling is for sale, loan, lease, or import, whereas the ten-month requirement is for no ownership changes and to allow for maximum management flexibility.  Scientists tell us that the best time to test is after being pulled away from the cows at least two weeks and that means testing in the fall for most Montana herds.  If these bulls are going back into the same managed grazing association with no comingling with females until the next breeding season and all bulls going into that grazing association will be tested, the science tells us that we have a pretty good idea about the incidence of Trich in a higher risk activity.  If any bulls are positive, all the remaining bulls would have to test negative three times.


COMMENT #23:  How is the identity of the positive animals specified?


RESPONSE #23:  Positive bulls must be identified at time of test as described in ARM 32.3.501(14) "Individual Trichomoniasis Identification."


COMMENT #24:  On page 1855 ARM 32.3.501(20) how is the identity of these quarantined cattle made?  By silver tags?  Do all open cows in Trich positive herds need to be silver tagged?


RESPONSE #24:  Identification of positive bulls will be with the Montana Trich tag which was placed at testing unless alternative approved ID was placed, as described in ARM 32.3.501(14)(a), (b), or (c).  Exposed animals in a positive herd are identified by brands and description which is consistent with official quarantine documents already in use by the Department of Livestock.  If open cows are moving to slaughter or to a Trich approved feedlot then they must be identified individually, but if remaining on the ranch during the quarantine period only the brand and description are required.


COMMENT #25:  What about open cows going to market? All dry cows from a positive herd should go to slaughter and not be allowed to "clear up" over time.  We need to require imported open cows to only be allowed to be sold to slaughter unless coming from a Trich free herd or are virgin heifers.  Open cows must go to slaughter even if bulls are not tested.  Open cows imported must be from Trich free herds or not exposed to bulls.


RESPONSE #25:  While recognizing the risk of importing open cows, the current proposal does not include any requirements except for cows from positive herds. The department is interested in receiving additional comments regarding the movement restrictions on open cows.  These rules would address the imported cows as well as the open cows sold at livestock markets.  South Dakota has an existing rule that restricts import of open cows as well as open cows sold at a market.  SD12:68:27:04.


COMMENT #26:  Why must all T. Foetus positive animals be kept for minimum of 30 days before being sold directly to slaughter?


RESPONSE #26:  Positive bulls may go immediately to slaughter through a market or enter a Trichomoniasis approved feedlot.  The 30 day requirement is specific to a licensed Trich approved feedlot and allows the legitimate feeder to fatten the bull up for slaughter before being sold directly to slaughter or going to market and then to slaughter.


COMMENT #27:  ARM 32.3.505(3)(e) does this mean heifer calves at cows' side with no bulls on cows?  I have done numerous C-sections on 11 and 12 month old heifers.


RESPONSE #27:  This section provides that quarantine exemption to heifer calves (virgin).  Although it does occur, heifer calves getting bred during their first season of life is not where the vast majority of this disease shows up.  We have not seen any data to restrict heifer calf movement from a positive herd, although it could be incorporated into the rule if the data was presented.


COMMENT #28:  How do we determine 120 day pregnancy?  The fetus is too old to ultrasound at that time and there are inaccuracies with rectal palpation.  No veterinarian can determine a 120 day pregnancy.


RESPONSE #28:  Numerous veterinarians have been queried over the course of the last two years and this is the first time that this statement has occurred.  Rectal palpation is an artful science that combines specific anatomical facts with practitioners' experience.  The goal for this estimation of pregnancy is to ensure that a minimum of 90 days and preferable 120 days has passed for exposure to a positive bull for the majority of exposed cows to clear the infection.  Market veterinarians and dairy practitioners are quite excellent at rectal palpation, but the vast majority of bovine practitioners questioned in Montana felt that they could determine the difference between a 90 day and a 120 day pregnancy.


COMMENT #29:  What is an acceptable specimen in ARM 32.3.501(1)?


RESPONSE #29:  The accredited laboratory determines if the sample is unacceptable because of a multitude of reasons that are too exhaustive to include here.  Many of these are common sense from inappropriate culture media, excess contaminated material present, improper handling or shipping.  This sample determination is no different for Trichomoniasis than it is for other diseases that require laboratory testing.


COMMENT #30:  The public grazing section (New Rule I) says that the bulls shall have the Official Trichomoniasis Test but the definition doesn't say whether or not that means three negative cultures or one negative PCR?  Or in a positive herd does that mean three negative cultures or three negative PCRs?  Is there ever a situation where multiple negative PCRs are required?


RESPONSE # 30:  In New Rule I after "the Official Trichomoniasis foetus test" language has been added as in "ARM 32.3.502(1)(a)" to clarify which test(s) are required.  In a positive herd New Rule I or in 32.3.505(3)(c), the remaining bulls must be tested three times with negative, weekly results using either three cultures or three individual PCR tests or any combination thereof.


COMMENT #31:  ARM 32.3.503(2) Labs now report bulls as not detected instead of negative.


RESPONSE #31:  Laboratory language changes from lab to lab and from time to time.  A positive bull is one that Trich foetus has been detected.  Conversely, a negative bull is one that T. foetus has not been detected.


COMMENT #32:  Montana diagnostic lab has disclaimer for one PCR test on lab report.


RESPONSE #32:  The purpose of the disclaimer was to protect both the practitioner and the laboratory.  Science does not have a 100% method to identify Trich with one or more tests of the animal, and the possibility still exists that the animal could be positive even with a negative test.  Disclaimers are simply to inform the practitioners of the limitations of the test.


COMMENT #33:  If nonvirgin sale bulls (assumed to be positive) require only one PCR test, then why do positive herds need three PCR tests?  The correct procedure, according to the theriogenologist with whom I consult, is three PCR tests.  No consistency to these proposals.


RESPONSE #33:  The department has received and agreed with several comments about the "assumed to be positive" in ARM 32.3.502(1)(d) and has changed the wording.  The goal of this rule is to balance disease detection, prevention, eradication, and at the same time allowing the cattle industry to continue to thrive without interfering unnecessarily with commerce. 


COMMENT #34:  In New Rule V(1)(a) what does this mean "quarantine on suspicion of diagnosis"?


RESPONSE #34:  Veterinarians are trained to determine a disease diagnosis based on a multitude of facts presented by the clinical examination and history of the case; treatment and diagnosis are often prescribed prior to confirmatory laboratory testing. This is what is meant by "suspicion of diagnosis".


COMMENT #35:  In New Rule V(1)(f) what distinguishes important reported disease from unimportant?


RESPONSE #35:  "Other important reportable diseases" are those reportable within 30 days versus immediately.  The department has removed the word "important" to now read: "(f) file a monthly form regarding other reportable diseases."  Producers and veterinarians have the duty to report infectious and contagious disease per 81-2-107, MCA and ARM 32.3.104.  Every veterinarian was provided with a list of diseases that are immediately reportable to either or both the Montana State Veterinarian or the federal APHIS Area Veterinarian in Charge.  This list also contains diseases that are reportable within 30 days.


COMMENT #36:  How are these proposals accepted or rejected?


RESPONSE #36:  After the public comment period has closed then the agency has up to six months from the filing date to organize the comments into groups and write the agency response to public comment, which will be filed.  Depending upon comments received agencies may change the proposal and refile.  It will be presented to the Board of Livestock for final approval before going back to Secretary of State's office for filing as law.



/s/  George H. Harris                                    /s/  Christian Mackay          

George H. Harris                                           Christian Mackay

Rule Reviewer                                               Executive Officer

                                                                        Department of Livestock


Certified to the Secretary of State February 1, 2010


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