ACA Reviews Border Closings, Negative Articles & Comment Period

March 5, 2014

From the American Cervid Alliance News Room

ACA Council Reviews Comment Period Procedure, Border Closings,
Iowa Legal Case, & Committee Recommendations

AYR, NE- The American Cervid Alliance Leadership Council met earlier this week to organize efforts for the Federal Chronic Wasting Disease Program Standards comment period and discuss other industry concerns.  

The council had already distributed its outline of remaining concerns from the Version 23 standards to serve as a guide for member associations.  Cervid producers and the general public will be able to post comments regarding concerns until the comment period ends March 31. After the comment period ends, the USDA/APHIS will consider all comments and publish the final document which will become the new Program Standards for the cervid industry’s Chronic Wasting Disease program.  It was noted that all comments should include positive elements of this document as well as those that are detrimental to our industry.  

The council made it very clear that the federal program will have an accompanying standards document.  There has been some misconception that the federal rule could be left in place without program standards.   Travis Lowe, representing the Kansas Cervid Breeders Association, told the council that since there is a Federal Rule there will be a set of standards to serve as the companion document  and encouraged utilization of the comment period in a professional manner .  “We have been trying for over a year to make the standards document better and this comment period will be our last opportunity for improvement. Once USDA/APHIS publishes the final version, the ACA can then meet to see what changes have been made and if they are acceptable.”  This has been the ACA’s intention. Clint Patty, the ACA’s attorney, told the council there are several legal options in the event the final version of the standards is still unacceptable. These options would have no impact on the federal rule itself.

Another thoroughly discussed topic was the ACA’s response to the damaging article written by columnist Pat Durkin entitled “New chronic wasting disease rules enhance risks”. The article featured several negative quotes from Dr. John Fischer of the University of Georgia.  Cervid industry leaders believe several statements made, by Dr. Fischer, in this article, were biased and not based on science. Dr Fischer is a member of the USDA/APHIS Chronic Wasting Disease Program Standards Working Group, as a wildlife representative and a member of the new USAHA Farmed Cervid Subcommittee.  The ACA Media Review Committee, chaired by Charly Seale, was flooded with requests from deer and elk farmers encouraging a response.  After council discussion, a motion was made by Tim Condict, councilman representing the Deer Breeders Corp, to have ACA Attorney, Clint Patty, draft and send a letter objecting to Dr Fischer’s remarks and request that any future statements be based on the best know science. Condict’s motion also included sending a letter to the United States Animals Health Association’s Executive Committee citing Dr Fischer’s public bias and asking them to reconsider his membership on the Farmed Cervid Subcommittee.

Clint Patty answered questions from the council regarding the commerce clause research and the letter sent to the Missouri Conservation Department Commissioners.  Mr. Patty told the council the commissioners were now in receipt of the letter. Currently there is only talk and not an actual proposal to close the Missouri borders.

Warren Bluntzer, chairman of the ACA’s Terminology Committee, presented several terms and ideas the council should consider and then discuss at a future meeting.  

The council also received an update from Rhonda Brakke regarding the news of their recent legal victory regarding their suit against the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  

Angie Kerry, ACA Councilwoman for the New York Deer & Elk Farmers Association, provided an update on their border closure and said their association would welcome any financial support. The ACA Council also reviewed and approved the monthly financial statement.


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