Deer & Elk Leaders Travel to North Carolina for USAHA Conference

October 16, 2016

Multiple Resolutions to be Proposed by Cervid Industry
GREENSBORO, NC- Leaders of the deer and elk ranching industry are converging in North Carolina for a busy week at the United States Animal Health Association annual conference. The United States Animal Health Association(USAHA) is a large non-profit organization that connects federal and state officials with industry representatives as well as leading researchers of the animal health community. 
The USAHA conference offers several days of committee meetings that focus on more than a dozen specific diseases and animal industries. The cervid industry is active in many of these committees and uses them as forum to discuss and encourage positive regulatory change. 
Over a dozen members of the cervid industry, representing several different national and state deer and elk associations, are in attendance and prepared for work. Earlier this week, the American Cervid Alliance Leadership Council reviewed the objectives for the conference. The dominating topic of discussion is the revision of the USDA APHIS' Chronic Wasting Disease Program Standards Document. The Standards document was requested to be revised by a resolution offered at the USAHA conference in 2015. Over the last several months, a working group has reviewed and revised the document. The recommendations of the working group will be presented in two USAHA committees. There are several positive changes included in the proposed draft, however, as of last week, the industry stands in opposition of several intended changes sought by USDA APHIS. 
Other topics of discussion include ensuring parity between rules for wild elk restoration projects and the interstate rules for cervid producers. Last year, the cervid industry offered a resolution at USAHA to request a guideline policy be set forth by USDA APHIS to bring parity. Earlier this month, a guidance document was published by the agency that does not go far enough. The industry will once again appeal the disparity between the government agencies and the industry ranchers. 
The industry also plans to improve Tuberculous rules with resolutions on blood testing and import requirements for cervids from Canada. 
Patrick Tarlton, who serves as the executive director of the Texas Deer Association says the week of meetings are seen as an opportunity for the industry. "We are excited about the upcoming meetings. USAHA allows industry and interested parties to make the case to state and federal regulators to ensure our rules are based on best known science. It is very important for our industry to be seen and heard at these forums."

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