June 4, 2023

Rex Rammell's Elk Once Declared "Not Pure" Retests As Pure

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Roy and Kristy Sternes, owners of the Black Canyon Elk Ranch in Emmett, Idaho purchased the cow elk that a Canadian laboratory declared “suspect” of red deer genes. They bought the critter for meat but before it was butchered, the Sternes with the assistance of a veterinarian and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, took tissue samples and sent them to a world renowned DNA testing lab in New Zealand. Those test came back declaring the cow elk as pure.

The Sternes released this information.



CONTACT: Roy Sterns 208. 739.1362

Kristy Sternes 208. 866. 0927

Black Canyon Elk Ranch—Emmett, Idaho

The world’s most respected lab, located in New Zealand, concerning elk/red deer genetics has just released results from the one suspect domestic elk cow from Dr Rex Rammell’s herd regarding her genetics. The cow elk was not among the elk which escaped from Rammell’s elk ranch. The New Zealand lab ran a DNA test which uses thirteen markers determining that the cow elk is pure elk with no red deer genes.

Roy and Kristy Sterns of Black Canyon Elk Ranch near Emmett purchased the animal for meat from Dr Rammell after the Idaho State Dept of Agriculture (ISDA) required the animal be slaughtered. ISDA transported the animal to a slaughter facility in Idaho. At the plant, both a private practice veterinarian and ISDA took DNA samples from the animal.

The independent veterinarian airmailed the sample to the Genomnz Lab in New Zealand. The results came back last night that the cow elk is pure elk.

Ten years ago, when the animal was purchased by Dr Rammell, she was given a certification of genetic purity by a Colorado lab as having no red deer genes. All of her offspring born on Dr Rammell’s ranch have been tested as pure elk with no red deer genes.

ISDA sent the cow elk blood to a Canadian lab which uses a test with just four protein markers. This is not a DNA test and not as scientifically sensitive as the New Zealand G3 test. The Canadian lab ran the tests twice showing a possible suspect red deer gene. This test goes back two generations for the red deer gene. This required a DNA test by a premiere lab which goes back three or more generations.

All the genetic and disease results are now back regarding Dr Rammell’s entire domestic elk herd, both those that escaped and those who were placed under quarantine. Every animal was checked for brucellosis and tuberculosis and elk that were slaughtered had their brains tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD). All test results have come back negative, proving once again that the domestic elk industry in Idaho is not spreading any disease nor harming wild elk genetics.

Tom Remington