Cervid Industry Prepares for New TB & Brucellosis Federal Rule

December 11, 2015


USDA APHIS Publishes New Rule


A new rule has just been published that will impact the elk, deer, bison and cattle industry. The Federal Rule for TB & Brucellosis will be released and eventually published in the Federal Register.  The rule has been expected and word of the imminent release was announced at the United States Animal Health Association.


The rule will follow a process similar to the Federal Rule on Chronic Wasting Disease released in 2012.  The proposed rule will be released with a comment period open for a certain number of days to allow stakeholders to comment and suggest any necessary changes. Once the comment period is closed, the agency will review and publish the final rule. The rule is very long as it incorporates several species, beyond the cervid family.


The cervid industry is already preparing to be ready for release. Travis Lowe, who serves as Executive Director of the North American Elk Breeders Association and Moderator of the American Cervid Alliance, said NAEBA has put together a comprehensive database of TB and Brucellosis rules for all cervid species.  


“Once the proposed rule comes out we need to be able to see very quickly how the industry will be impacted in every state.”   The database takes the exact language for TB and Brucellosis administrative rules for interstate and intrastate movement and compares them side by side with each state that has an active cervid industry. Once the rule is published, it will be easier to identify comments and changes that need to be made. “This is how the industry needs to prepare,” Lowe said. The database is being circulated to other American Cervid Alliance associations.


“We have been waiting for this proposed rule for several years so this announcement was well received,” Laurie Seale told the USDA APHIS representatives at the USAHA Conference. Seale, who represents the Whitetails of Wisconsin association on the ACA Council, has been working with animal health officials to acquire more data on TB testing surveillance.


The United States Animal Health Association will play a role in the proposed rule as a resolution presented by the cervid industry was adopted by the association in 2014. The resolution makes recommendations for the number of days a negative Brucellosis test can be accepted by receiving states.  Another resolution passed by USAHA in 2013 exempted whitetail deer and mule deer from Brucellosis importation requirements. This language will be added as comments during the comment period and should carry weight as it has already been supported by the USAHA Brucellosis committee and USAHA Membership.


The comment period is expected to be ninety days and will start upon release of the rule.


Curt Waldvogel, who serves as the ACA Councilman representing the Whitetail Deer Farmers of Ohio and Second Ark Foundation voiced his excitement about the new rule. “This is great news and I will be interested to see what’s in it. Producers in Ohio have been battling over issues for quite some time and it will be great to see how other states handle it and see what gets incorporated in the new rule.”


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