ACA Council Convenes to Assess Federal CWD Reform Possibilities
November 18, 2013
Claims USAHA Trip a Success; Looks for Options to Assist States with Border Issues
AYR, NE- The American Cervid Alliance Leadership Council convened Monday, November 18, 2013, to review the USAHA conference and discuss options in regard to Federal CWD policy and state border closings.
The council examined possible scenarios that could exist in regard to the CWD Program Standards. In San Diego at the USAHA conference, Dr. John Clifford said the final version of standards, known as Version 23, was ready for public comment. After several concerns from industry leaders, Dr. Clifford offered to hold the advancement of the standards and offered to give a personal review and compare to Version 18. Version 18 was the version crafted by cervid industry representatives and state veterinarians last April. ACA council members speculated there could only be a few possible outcomes: Dr Clifford could send Version 23 forward to public comment, create a blend of Version 23 and Version 18 and then move forward, or ask for a new document to be re-drafted. Council leaders discussed the pros and cons of each scenario.
Clint Patty and Kevin Fowler of the ACA’s law firm on retainer were on the call to answer questions from council members regarding various scenarios that could potentially occur. Travis Lowe, who takes notes and minutes of the council meetings, is distributing a complete list of the scenarios for the members to share with their home association boards of directors. Moderator Eric Mohlman advised the council members to start discussion with their home boards to know how they feel about each scenario.
The ACA recapped the recent border shutdown to CWD-susceptible cervid species in New York and discussion centered around whether shutting down interstate commerce was legal. The council also received updates on the pending wild elk relocation project from Kentucky to Wisconsin. Cervid leaders feel Wisconsin’s importation of wild elk should be held to the same importation requirements as farmed cervids. Rhonda Brakke gave an update that the second Iowa legal case with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is currently underway.
Discussion was held on the ongoing assault of inaccurate negative press in Missouri by conservation groups seeking to shut down boarders to cervid movement into that state. Travis Lowe stated at the cervid leaders/USDA meeting in September in Washington DC, that USDA/APHIS was asked to help with messaging to the state agriculture and conservation agencies. Lowe, representing the Kansas Cervid Breeders Association, stated the KCBA is preparing to send a letter to Dr TJ Myers of USDA/APHIS requesting the USDA to help reinforce that there is no science to prove that CWD has had any significant impact on wild deer populations. A motion was made by Charly Seale, representing the Exotic Wildlife Association, for the ACA to draft a letter to be sent to Dr. TJ Myers requesting USDA/APHIS to assist by offering a positive statement to the Missouri agencies, and encourage ACA member associations to do the same. Donald Hill, councilman for the Missouri Whitetail Deer & Hunting Ranch Association, seconded of the motion and stated his association would greatly welcome the help. The Seale motion was unanimously adopted.
ACA leaders extolled the recent trip to San Diego for the United States Animal Health Association conference as a huge success. Almost all of the proposed objectives previously approved by the council had been accomplished. ACA Leaders stressed the importance of USAHA and urged state associations to budget for a representative next year. Charly Seale told the council, “As an industry we would not have the opportunities we had this year if our industry did not have several representatives attend the conference. We need more faces under their own state association flag to press our issues with key decision makers.” Next year’s USHA conference is in Kansas City, Missouri.