USDA Officials: CWD Standards Going to Public Comment Soon
September 20, 2013
Industry Leaders Meet with USDA APHIS to Discuss Future of Cervid Industry
USDA/APHIS invited several industry leaders to Washington D.C. to discuss concerns regarding the agencies rules and regulations and their impact on the cervid industry. Wednesday, September 18th, two representatives from each of the four national associations, which included the North American Elk Breeders Association, North American Deer Farmers Association, Exotic Wildlife Association, and the Reindeer Owners and Breeders Association, and long time cervid industry veterinarian Dr Glen Zebarth, met with the USDA/AHIS representatives for several hours. The general discussion was centered on exploring possible opportunities for the continued growth of the cervid industry and how the USDA could assist with this future growth. Ongoing challenges and hurdles, within the cervid industry, were the main topic of discussion.
Dr Zebarth and Ray Burdett said the cervid industry could thrive if the USDA could find research money to help develop a live CWD test and/or vaccine. All the cervid leaders asked for the USDA to assist with positive messaging, especially in those states that were continually being bombarded with negative messaging concerning the farmed cervid industry. This would be especially helpful based on the fact that the USDA does support the cervid industry and wants to see its future growth. Charly Seale, Travis Lowe, and Eric Mohlman, focused more on the immediate need to loosen regulations. They said it was the current regulations in place and fear of more regulations through the standards that are causing us to lose more and more cervid farmers in all our states, today. This discussion led to a discussion on the current proposed CWD Standards and when they would be unveiled for public comment. The USDA said it would hopefully be next month.
There is still a tremendous amount of anguish among some industry representatives regarding how many changes, beneficial to the cervid industry, will be made in Version 23. It was noted there are over a dozen industry concerns noted on the American Cervid Alliance Rule vs. Standards Comparison Chart that must be resolved. USDA’s Dr TJ Myers asked that the cervid industry make a strong showing during the public comment period pointing out both the positive and negative areas of the Program Standards.