Montana's Border Remains Open for Elk Imports

April 24, 2020

HELENA, MT- The North American Elk Breeders Association is pleased to announce the Montana Board of Livestock has voted to adopt revised language to continue the importation of farmed elk and deer into the state.

The Board of Livestock’s vote effectively closes the chapter of an eleven-month saga of NAEBA working with the Montana Department of Livestock to keep the border open for importation, after the Department proposed to close the border in an effort to protect the state from Chronic Wasting Disease.

Since June 2019, NAEBA worked with the Department through three public comment period processes, which offered several versions of import restrictions.

NAEBA and local elk owners, along with many cervid owners across the continent, opposed the border closure, citing the proposal halts commerce and does not protect the state’s elk owners from Chronic Wasting Disease in free-ranging deer.

Earlier this year, the Department revised the proposed language again to allow the importation of elk and deer into Montana if Chronic Wasting Disease has not been discovered within 50 miles of the exporting herd in the last five years. The proposed language was adopted by the Board four to two.    

“We thank Dr. Marty Zaluski and the Montana Board of Livestock for their willingness to work with the industry and allow commerce to continue,” NAEBA Executive Director Travis Lowe explained during the regulatory Board meeting prior to the vote.

NAEBA thanks Dr. Zaluski for working with the association throughout this process. NAEBA thanks its members and stakeholders for their participation in the comment process. The new rule becomes effective May 16.

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