CWD Standards Working Group Concluding Negotiations

June 11, 2013

Final Draft Scheduled to be Submitted to Public Comment this Summer

 The Standards Working Group met for its last scheduled meeting yesterday, Monday, June 10, 2013. The Working Group was set to sunset this month after the expiration of the additional sixty days granted by the United States Department of Agriculture in April. The USDA’s Dr. Patty Klein distributed the final last draft of the document to the Standards Working Group members. The final draft, known as “Version 21”, reflects the latest changes of the running document that will be sent to the public comment period later this summer. 

The Standards Working Group is represented by the three cervid industry representatives, several state veterinarians, wildlife officials, and the United States Department of Agriculture. The committee has met almost on a weekly basis since last December to find common ground on various contentious elements. 

 Last month, a subcommittee within the Working Group comprised of the three industry representatives, along with several state veterinarians, submitted an alternative document to the other stakeholders of the Working Group.  The alternative draft reflected what industry representatives felt would be a fair companion to the control-based CWD Federal Rule.  After consideration from the balance of the Working Group, several ideas from the subcommittee were not approved to be incorporated into the final document. 

 The final draft presented by Dr Klein, known as Version 21, will undergo technical changes by the agency’s legal team to prepare for submission to the public comment period.  The public comment period will last for 30 days and be open for anyone to post comments and suggestions.  After the 30 days, the USDA will consider the posted comments and unveil the completed standards document.

 Version 21 reflects numerous positive changes compared to the original version from July 2012. The optional guidance language was added to the introduction of the document however there are still other detrimental aspects still within the document such as five year land quarantines after depopulation with topsoil removal requirements.  A caveat, many states such as Iowa have already started to implement and enforce requirements located within the document. 

 There is no guarantee the completed document after the 30 day comment period will look the same as the final draft completed by the Working Group. It is essentially a wait-and-see this summer.   Meanwhile state and national associations can assess the progress of the latest document with their own expectations.

 The American Cervid Alliance would like to thank the three cervid industry representatives- Eric Mohlman, Charly Seale, and Shawn Shafer for their steadfast participation throughout the negotiating process.  The ACA also thanks the state veterinarians and all the participants of the Working Group for the dialog and effort to find common ground. 

 The ACA Council will convene in two weeks to review Version 21 and the public comment process.

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