Hunters Resources

Brucellosis Causation

Despite all the claims that brucellosis from elk or bison has never spread to cattle, it has. In 1992 in the federal court case entitled Parker Land and Cattle Co, Inc .v. U.S., 796 F. Supp. 477 (D. Wyo,1992) the court heard extensive expert testimony on the issue and expressly found that an outbreak of brucellosis on a Wyoming cattle ranch “...was most likely caused by contact with infected elk or bison.” Dr. Donald Bridgewater, the Western Regional Epidemiologist of the Animal and Plant Health Inspections Service of the US Department of Agriculture reported and testified that the infection came from either infected elk or bison, the court decision states. “At trial Dr. Bridgewater testified that he believed, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the Parker infection was caused by contact with either elk or bison.” The court also held that the National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service have a duty to take an “active role in eliminating the brucellosis problem in the elk and bison which are under their control,” and could be held liable for money damages for failing to do so. In that particular case, the judge did not find that the cattle were proven to be infected by park elk as distinguished from elk and bison roaming at large, but the court did find the federal agencies negligent for not more actively eliminating the disease in park elk and bison under their control. “The federal government does not have the discretion to do nothing in the fight against a disease which it is perpetuating by its wildlife management practices ....” Had the plaintiff proven that the disease came from the park and refuge elk or bison rather than others they would have been awarded money damages because they proved all other aspects of their case. Conservation Force has no position on this issue, except to point out the truth about the transmission of the disease.

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