OPEN THANK YOU TO ERROL RICE
Dear Errol Rice, Executive Vice President/ CEO Montana Stockgrowers,
It was a long wait through the two day meeting to hear you, being that you were the last scheduled speaker. It was worth the wait. You made me proud yesterday at the National Academy of Science Panel Meeting on Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone.
It may not be politically correct to say, but it takes a lot of balls to stand in front of that crowd of people and live video and say you/MSGA support eradication of Brucellosis from both livestock and wildlife. After many “experts” stood up and said it was impossible, they would never live to see it, the social cost was to great, You were bold enough to say we should not discount new science, future science and technology’s ability to find a way to eliminate the disease. You admitted it was a tall order and you had not studied all the economics of it, but you supported moving towards that goal.
When I heard the leaders in wildlife research and Yellowstone National Park say it could not/should not be done, what I really heard is they were not willing to work towards that goal. They were not willing to think out of the box they had with such certainty stuffed that “impossibility” into. The eradication of brucellosis does not mean the goal of slaughtering of every bison and elk in YNP. Science when pushed and searched has found ways to do many miraculous things, but if we simply say it cannot be done… it won’t.
Thank you Errol, for standing up and explaining what the Designated Surveillance Area has cost livestock producers in their per capita fees and the near loss of the Diagnostic Veterinary Lab, Department of Livestock as a whole and reduced ability to market their animals. Thank you for saying it is more important to the industry to rid the area of brucellosis than to find new ways of getting government funded financial mitigation. Ranchers are not looking to get rich off brucellosis.
I was proud of you for standing your ground under questioning. I was proud to be a member of Montana Stockgrowers.
Marias River Livestock Association, President