USDA CWD Standards "Optional" for States and Not Rule of Land

September 2, 2015

The American Cervid Alliance wishes to remind all stakeholders that the USDA Chronic Wasting Disease Program Standards Document and is not a requirement for states to comply as a Herd Certification State (HCP).

Many states, particularly ones that are relatively new to dealing with Chronic Wasting Disease has unfortunately followed the CWD Program Standards document to the letter. As prophesied by the American Cervid Alliance, the Standards protocol has devastated the industry farms in those states, with language, including but not limited to, spider web trace outs and quarantines.  

Only the USDA Federal Rule (CFR 55 & 81) and respective state regulations is the rule of the land for HCP states.

The USDA’s own CWD Program Standards explanation document on their website says “The standards offer optional guidance to facilitate compliance with the CWD rule that established a herd certification program and interstate movement requirements to control CWD in farmed or captive cervids in the United States.”
(source below)

The American Cervid Alliance’s attorney also agreed with the lack of authority of the CWD Program Standards. Our attorney’s statement, “The CWD Program Standards are not a part of the regulation known as the “CWD Final Rule”, and as such are not subject to the normal regulatory progress, including the notice and comment provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act.  5 U.S.C § 553.  Under the law, such standards serve only as non-binding “policy statements” or “guidelines” that “all lack the force of law.”  Christensen v. Harris County, 529 U.S. 576, 587 (2000).  See also, Schweiker v. Hansen, 450 U.S. 785, 789 (1981) (guidelines or manuals not subject to formal rule making processes under the Administrative Procedures Act are not binding) and Pub. Citizen, Inc. v. U.S. Dep't of Heath & Human Servs., 332 F.3d 654, 660 (D.C. Cir. 2003). “

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