ACA Council Votes to Retain Legal Advice throughout Comment Process

August 28, 2013

Legal Team to Provide Guidance for Industry Leaders 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013, the American Cervid Alliance convened to discuss the upcoming comment period process.  The public comment period will be scheduled to start in the very near future.   Industry leaders have requested a 90 day comment period. During this time the public and cervid industry breeders are encouraged to submit their comments in an effort to change the standards to a workable document. 

There is still great concern across the United States surrounding these standards. Earlier this month, the ACA approved a letter that was sent to Dr John Clifford of the United States Department of Agriculture, advising him that the document, in its current form, was not acceptable.  This week the ACA released a new chart comparing over a dozen industry concerns with Federal Rule language and Version 22 standard’s language.

ACA Council Members discussed that, as it stands now, the cervid industry does not have legal representation during the public comment period. Travis Lowe, of the Kansas Cervid Breeders Association, said over the last year every other group has had legal counsel throughout the CWD program standards negotiations.  “Every group- the USDA, Fish and Wildlife,  and State Veterinarians, have all had legal representation ensuring they are making informed decisions, yet the cervid industry has had no legal support. This is not a good situation for the cervid industry.”

Michael Heiter, of the Pennsylvania Deer Farmers Association, made a motion for the American Cervid Alliance to retain the law firm, which spoke during the August 6th meeting, to guide the council through the public comment process.  Heiter said, “It is essential our industry has proper legal representation.”  The motion was adopted unanimously 19-0. Charly Seale, representing the Exotic Wildlife Association, was the second on the motion. 

The law firm of Frieden, Unrein & Forbes, of Topeka, Kansas, which specializes in federal legal issues, was approved by a unanimous vote of the ACA.  After the motion, Lowe made clear it very clear, “the motion was NOT nor was the vote a move for any legal action, but about being properly informed going through the public comment process. I think our membership deserves that.”  The expenses will be used from ACA funds generated over the past year. The law firm, that has been retained, is the same firm that was on the ACA conference call earlier this month to explain possible legal options.   

Before the meeting adjourned, Moderator Eric Mohlman stated there had been delays distributing donations to the Brakke’s Legal Fund in Iowa due to the delayed non-profit certification with the IRS. Mohlman told the council everything was now complete and all donations sent to the ACA intended to aid the Iowa Legal Fund have been distributed.  To date, all ACA financial statements and council meeting minutes have been approved. 

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