The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is one of five agencies involved in the Interagency Bison Management Plan. APHIS is the federal agency responsible for the national brucellosis eradication program and is solely responsible for designating the brucellosis status of individual states. All of the funds spent by the state of Montana to implement the Plan come from APHIS as part of their annual $9 million brucellosis eradication budget.
The DOL receives approximately $600,000 a year for the Plan and another $250,000 for the Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee comes directly from APHIS.
Additionally, APHIS spends millions of dollars annually for research into brucellosis vaccination of buffalo and elk. Recently, APHIS has taken the lead on quarantine research for Yellowstone buffalo. APHIS also served in an advisory role to the Wyoming brucellosis coordinating committee that has recommended test and slaughter of elk on the Pinedale Feed Ground.
But what is APHIS really all about?
The reality is that APHIS is the federal arm of the agricultural industries. In addition to disease control, APHIS administers the grossly inappropriately named "wildlife services" division. Formerly known as animal damage control, APHIS oversees and administers the shooting, poisoning, and trapping of millions of wild animals deemed to be pests to agriculture including prairie dogs, ravens, coyotes, beavers, foxes, opossums, and countless other species.