USDA/APHIS Interim Chronic Wasting Disease Rule Now Becomes Final

May 7, 2014

New Program Standards to Be Released in May
AYR, NE- USDA/APHIS sent a release last week announcing that the Final Chronic Wasting Disease Rule has been posted into the Federal Register. The release also stated that the updated Program Standards reflecting any adopted changes from the comment period will be posted sometime in May. During the 90 day program standards comment period, the unified cervid industry overwhelmed the agency with suggested changes to make the document more industry and producer friendly.  The industry leaders eagerly wait to see the measure of their success, which will mark the end of the year and a half long process attempting to improve the document.

Stakeholders in key cervid states such as Missouri are hoping that many of the harmful suggestions proposed by various state wildlife agencies have not been included in the final version of the USDA/APHIS standards document.
Below are the two changes to the Final Rule that originally went into effect in December 2012.
The description of those changes is included below:

“In the June 2012 interim final rule, we described how the goal of the CWD program had shifted from the elimination of CWD from farmed and captive cervids in the United States to controlling the incidence of CWD in farmed and captive cervids and preventing the interstate spread of CWD. In § 55.1, the definition of herd plan, established in a previous action, indicates that a herd plan sets out the steps to be taken to eradicate CWD from a CWD-positive herd, among other things. Completion of a herd plan is required to allow a herd enrolled in the Federal CWD herd certification program to reenroll in the program after it has been determined to be positive for or exposed to CWD. However, as the goal of the CWD program is no longer to eliminate CWD from farmed and captive cervids, the term “eradicate” may not be appropriate; in some cases, a herd plan may seek to control CWD within the herd, without necessarily depopulating the whole herd. For this reason, we are amending the definition of herd plan to indicate that such a plan will set out the steps to be taken to control the spread of CWD from a CWD-positive herd.

Under § 81.3, cervids moved directly to slaughter must, among other things, be moved to a recognized slaughtering establishment. We did not include in the June 2012 interim final rule a definition of the term “recognized slaughtering establishment.” This omission could cause confusion. Accordingly, we are adding a definition of recognized slaughtering establishment to § 81.1, which reads “An establishment where slaughtering operations are regularly carried out under Federal or State inspection and which has been approved by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to receive animals for slaughter.” This definition is taken from the regulations governing the importation of ruminants in § 93.400 and is consistent with the intended meaning of the term in § 81.3.
Therefore, for the reasons given in the interim rule and in this document, we are adopting the interim final rule as a final rule, with the changes discussed in this document.”

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