Rinderpest is a highly contagious ruminant viral disease manifested by a rapid course and greater than 90% mortality. Infectious vaccinia virus recombinants were constructed that express either the hemagglutinin or the fusion gene of rinderpest virus. All cattle vaccinated with either recombinant or with the combined recombinants produced neutralizing antibodies against rinderpest virus and were protected against the disease when challenged with more than 1000 times the lethal dose of the virus.