ACA Leaders Outlined Version 23 Concerns; ACA to Hold Benefit Auction

The American Cervid Alliance Council met Tuesday night via met conference call to discuss the Chronic Wasting Disease Rule and Version 23 of the Proposed Program Standards. The meeting was a continuation of the discussion started last week in which council leaders were asked to assess the federal rule and its companion program standards. They were also asked to discuss this federal mandate with their respective board members

Now that Version 23 is published in the federal registry and open, until March 31, for public comment, ACA leaders are working to determine what parts of the document are problematic and establish priorities for public comment from our industry. The major concern, which is mentioned in several parts of the document, is language concerning double fencing. Other topics discussed include the cleanup requirements regarding the removal of 4″ of top soil and general disinfectant protocol for sale barns.

The most discussed topic concerned double fencing found part A, section 4, of Version 23 of the program standards. The language is as follows: “The program does not intend to have “double fencing” as a comprehensive program standard for farmed cervids, however, the program does recognize the risks of CWD infection to farmed cervids held in facilities that operate in areas known to have CWD in free-ranging cervids. Therefore, the risk of CWD transmission between farmed cervids and free-ranging cervid populations should be assessed by individual States and addressed by additional barrier requirements as necessary. Cervid producers also may elect to include additional barriers or exclusionary fencing to mitigate such risks while enrolled in the HCP.” “Approved State officials have the discretion to consider the use of additional barriers or other biosecurity measures to mitigate the risks of CWD transmission.”

Numerous ACA Councilmen said this specific language could be used against the industry. Curt Waldvogel, of the Second Ark Foundation, said, “This language should not be in the document at all.” Moderator Eric Mohlman told the council, “This is a major problem still for the ACA, the language has been in the standards since version 1. Standard working group members tried to get it removed but weren’t successful because of resistance from USDA and wildlife members on the working group. After failing to get the double fencing language removed, industry working group members then asked for language that could at least give producers credit if they have additional barriers or exclusionary fencing.”

The ACA Council discussed with Shawn Schafer, who was an invited guest on the conference call, not only the problems with the double fencing language, but other advantages and disadvantages of the Federal Rule.

Mike Heiter, ACA Councilman representing the Pennsylvania Deer Farmers Association said, “These problems need to be addressed. We have thirty associations on the call with very real concerns. We all have to be comfortable in order for us to move forward and accept these standards. It looks like we aren’t there yet.”

ACA leaders also discussed the probability of continuing to have the cervid health program funded by congress in the future. It was noted that this is a budgetary item that will have to be solicited in Congress every year.

Jerry Campbell, a guest on the call, offered to assist the ACA in fundraising that could help provide the necessary funding for research that could eventually lead to a live test. A motion was approved by the council to have Jerry Campbell and his auction company set up this auction, possibly in April, which will feature some great animal and semen lots as well as many other auction items. The ACA sincerely appreciates this extremely generous offer.

Logo courtesy Texas Deer Association

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