Cervid Industry Organizes for Public Comment on CWD Standards
February 27, 2014
Next Council Meeting Outlines Final Concerns of Version 23
AYR, NE- The American Cervid Alliance and its member associations are preparing for the industry’s public comment concerning the Chronic Wasting Disease Program Standards. The comment period began after the first of the year and will end March 31, 2014. During most of 2013, the ACA has been outlining its concerns with the various versions of the standards (23 different versions). The Council has scheduled its next meeting to ensure all stakeholders are aware of lingering concerns and to make sure all the concerns are appropriately addressed.
Version 23 was released by the United States Department of Agriculture on the last day of December. This version reflected several positive changes over version 22, but still contains language many leaders label as “dealbreakers.” One of the most controversial sections, Part A, section 4, still mentions double fencing. “This is something that has to be removed,” said ACA Moderator, Eric Mohlman. “The specific language about the double fencing has been there since Version 1, it has nothing to do with positive herds, and was written 1 1/2 years ago. It makes one wonder why after hundreds of hours of meetings and numerous objections it is still there.”
The removal of double fencing language in Part A also is critical for cervid producers in Missouri. Kevin Hinkebein, ACA Councilman representing the Missouri Elk Farmers Association, said, “Our association just met and the biggest fear is double fencing. It will absolutely kill the industry. Language like this will make people leave the industry and prevent it from growing.”
Other major concerns found in Version 23 include several definitions, notice of transiting, the cleanup requirements regarding the removal of 4” of top soil and general disinfectant protocol for sale barns.
Several ACA member associations have met with their own respective board of directors and voted that Version 23 is unacceptable. Matt Harmon, ACA Councilman of the Illinois Deer Farmers Association, said his association is among the ones that have already voted. “We look at this language and we just can’t agree with it.”
“These program standards are USDA/APHIS stamp approved suggestions "for best practice measures", said Travis Lowe, ACA Councilman of the Kansas Cervid Breeders Association. “It defies logic why anyone would oppose double fencing in their home state but then accept the double fencing language in this document. Our board 100% opposes that language.”
The ACA will encourage a robust response from the cervid industry during the balance of the comment period. The ACA asks that comments be specific and offer rational and articulate reasons why these sections of Version 23 are not needed and offer possible alternatives.