New federal rules ease sanctions against states bordering Yellowstone National Park when livestock get infected with the disease brucellosis - but leave unresolved the more nettlesome problem of infected wildlife.
Under the USDA rules, ranchers with a handful of cattle infected with the reproductive disease no longer risk losing their entire herds to slaughter. Nor do states automatically lose their coveted "disease-free" status - a past practice that cost the industry tens of millions of dollars in lost sales and expenses.
The most significant change for wildlife is increased disease monitoring for species like bison and elk that carry brucellosis. So far, though, the rules have yielded no change to a government-sponsored capture program for bison, under which more than 500 of the animals are awaiting possible slaughter.
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