Indiana Eliminates Brucellosis Testing Requirement

April 9, 2019

The cervid industry's campaign to eliminate brucellosis import testing for all farmed cervids is gaining more momentum as another domino falls. In April, the Indiana Board of Animal Health voted in favor of dropping their brucellosis testing requirement for farmed cervids. The new rule officially takes effect this summer. NAEBA will share the exact date as soon as it becomes available.

Indiana now joins Colorado, Minnesota and South Dakota as states that do not require the test for importation. Several other states are currently in the process of amending their administrative rules to drop the requirement.

NAEBA Executive Director Travis Lowe attended the regulatory hearing in Indianapolis to urge the support of the proposed changes. Lowe stated that it will save members money in veterinarian and testing costs, while also increasing safety for owners and the animals.

“Prolonged time handling the animals for unnecessary testing increases chances of injury and stress,” Lowe told the Board of Animal Health.

“In addition, only 7% of farmed elk herds are Brucellosis certified, meaning our members must bring in their elk for individual testing usually in the most dangerous time of year with the advent of rut, when most elk are moved.”

As noted earlier in the year, the North American Elk Breeders Association, American Cervid Alliance and its member associations are working together to eliminate this unnecessary testing requirement for interstate movement. In 2017, the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) unanimously adopted a resolution urging state animal health officials to eliminate interstate Brucellosis testing requirements for cervids that originate outside the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA). The request was thoroughly vetted by animal health officials and ultimately unanimously approved by the USAHA membership at their annual conference.

Since Brucellosis import rules are state requirements and not federal, the changes need to be requested by local industry leaders in each state. Over the last year, the industry has worked concurrently to make these requests. An overwhelming majority of states that regularly import elk have started the process to eliminate the requirement. Several other states are expected to have fully repealed the requirement by the end of 2019.

The cervid industry thanks Dr. Brett Marsh, Dr. Shelly Chavis and their department for this change. The Alliance will update the industry on more changes as they come.

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