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New CWD Federal Standards Version 23 Heads to Public Comment

by | Dec 09, 2013
The CWD Standards Working Group convened Wednesday, Dec 4, at the request of USDA's Deputy Director, Dr. John Clifford. Dr. Clifford, who agreed to give a personal review of the CWD Standards document, told the group he has reviewed the document and made several changes. The new document, to be known in the industry as Version 23, will be published for public comment most likely within a month.
 
The stakeholders of the Working Group, which includes representatives from the cervid industry, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), wildlife agencies, National Veterinary Service Laboratories (NVSL), and state health officials, asked general questions about procedures and language contained within the document. Dr. Clifford answered specific questions asked by the group, but stated he will not provide the working group with a copy of the new document.
 
It appears many of the concerns expressed by industry have been addressed in the new version, but several unresolved issues still remain. Once industry leaders receive a copy of the new document, a formal outline will be prepared and distributed to American Cervid Alliance (ACA) leaders and industry.
 
Dr. Clifford stated that a 60-month quarantine on an infected or exposed herd is not negotiable because that is rule language and to change it would require opening the rule; however, states may use an epidemiological investigation to determine the time frame for trace backs and trace-forwards. There are circumstances that may warrant less than a five-year trace-back or trace-forward. This was a major issue that industry worked hard to accomplish and was reflected in version 18 of the Program Standards, which was prepared by state health officials and industry.
 
Travis Lowe, representing the North American Elk Breeders Association, told the CWD working group that the ACA plans to work with its 32 member associations and organize a robust display of public comments from the industry, highlighting both the positive and negative language in the document. This will be a major topic of discussion during the next ACA Council meeting next week.
 
The cervid industry representatives on the CWD Working Group are Eric Mohlman, Charly Seale, and Shawn Schafer.—courtesy Texas Deer Association
 

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