Cervid Industry Secures Passage of Several Resolutions at USAHA Conference
October 29, 2015
PROVIDENCE- The 119th annual conference of the United States Animal Health Association has concluded after an active week of discussions and meetings. Fifteen representatives from the cervid industry traveled to Rhode Island for what turned out to be a successful conference for the industry.
“It was a busy week to say the least, said Charly Seale, Executive director of the Exotic Wildlife Association. “At times some of our issues were behind in the count but there were good comments from various attendees that helped keep things going.”
Seale serves as one of the co-chairman for the USAHA Subcommittee on Farmed Cervidae. The subcommittee meeting was very well attended by USAHA members. Eric Mohlman, Dr. Glen Zebarth and Shawn Schafer also sit on the subcommittee as industry representatives.
Several resolutions were proposed by cervid industry leaders throughout the week that addressed the USDA CWD Program Standards, interstate movement of wild elk, TB testing and live CWD testing. Three of the four resolutions proposed were passed by the USAHA membership.
The approved resolutions are as follows:
CWD Program Standards Reform: In several of the committees, the USDA APHIS publically acknowledged the CWD Program Standards are not working like they had hoped and are often confusing and inconsistent with the language in the CWD Federal Rule. After much discussion, a resolution was adopted by USAHA to urge USDA Veterinary Services to amend the CWD Program Standards by deleting all language in Part B (Guidance on Responding to CWD Affected Herds) and rewrite Part B under the guidance of a new working group of state and federal regulatory officials and representatives from the farmed cervidae industry. Although Part A and Part B have severe flaws, Part B has been the most problematic section of the document relating to trace outs from CWD positive herds. USDA APHIS’ cervid team leader stated she would like the process to happen very quickly.
Wild Elk Movement: North American Elk Breeders Association Executive Director Travis Lowe carried a resolution to help close the loopholes in USDA policy that allows interstate movement of wild elk by state wildlife agencies that does not follow USDA interstate movement rules for farmed cervidae. There was a robust discussion after the resolution was initially introduced in the USAHA Committee on Wildlife Diseases but was tabled to give time to craft amendments. The resolution was then offered in the Farmed Cervid Subcommittee where it was adopted and also approved in its parent committee. This resolution, if adopted by USDA, will hold wildlife agencies more accountable by urging the USDA Veterinary Services to work with stakeholders to develop a guidance document on determining CWD risk levels of source herds for interstate cervid restoration projects.
Live CWD Testing: Dr. Keith Roehr, the state veterinarian of Colorado, presented a resolution to the National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials to ask state veterinarians to consider use of the rectal biopsy procedure as a tool in their State CWD programs when making regulatory decisions about the disease status, management and control of CWD exposed animals and herds as needed. The discussion was well received. Similarly, after a presentation on another live CWD test option, a resolution was adopted in the Captive Wildlife and Alternative Livestock Committee to urge the USDA and State Animal Health Officials to continue and expedite discussions and evaluation of ante mortem collection procedures for medial retropharyngeal lymph node (MRPLN) tissues for the Live Testing for Chronic Wasting Disease in White-Tailed Deer.
A resolution failed on a 22-28 vote in the USAHA Business Meeting dealing with the TB Blood Test. The DPP® (dual pathway platform) test, referred as the TB Blood Test, has been used for three years to test farmed cervidae in the United States for tuberculosis. Approximately 31,000 animals have been tested using this blood test. Though the DPP test has proven to be a very good test, several cervids have be depopulated that were false positive. Because some animals can be extremely valuable, Laurie Seale of the Whitetails of Wisconsin association carried a resolution urging USDA to amend testing and classification protocol for tuberculosis in farmed cervidae by allowing the use of an alternative test prior to final classification following non-negative DPP® test results. The resolution was adopted in two committees but fell short on the final day of the conference.
These resolutions approved by the USAHA membership will be sent to the USDAAPHIS for formal response. The American Cervid Alliance thanks all of the committee leadership and USAHA members that supported the cervid industry issues. A special thank you to Dr. Paul Anderson for his help on the cervid resolutions.
Cervid leaders worked well to push industry issues at the conference. First time attendees instantly saw the value of the conference. “With my first year under my belt, it could not have been more evident how important it is to be at this meeting,” said Patrick Tarlton, who serves as Texas Deer Association’s Executive Director. Mark Leudtke of the Minnesota Elk Breeders Association and Jacques deMoss of the Missouri Deer Association also completed their first conference.
Thank you to the cervid industry representatives and their respective associations for ensuring proper representation at the conference.
2015 Cervid Industry Attendees:
Tim Condict, Deer Breeders Corp
Jacques deMoss, Missouri Deer Association
Todd Landt, Iowa Whitetail Deer Association
Travis Lowe, North American Elk Breeders Association
Mark Ludtke, Minnesota Elk Breeders Association
Eric Mohlman, Elk Research Council
Gary Olson, Minnesota Deer Farmers Association
Shawn Schafer, North American Deer Farmers Association
Charly Seale, Exotic Wildlife Association
Laurie Seale, American Cervid Alliance
Daryl Simon, Reindeer Owners & Breeders Association
Patrick Tarlton, Texas Deer Association
Skip West, North American Deer Farmers Association
Kyle Wilson, Reindeer Owners & Breeders Association
Dr. Glen Zebarth, Minnesota Elk Breeders Association