State officials say the primary purpose of the amended rules are intended to help control the spread of this disease by establishing acceptable program standards for interstate movement.

In proposed changes for rule 40.1 entitled “Definitions,” TAHC is amending or adding definitions that will be used in the various other CWD sections. The Commission is adding definitions for 'Approved Laboratory', 'Certified CWD Sample Collector, CWD Susceptible Species, CWD Test Eligible, Commingled/Commingling', 'Farmed or Captive', 'Limited Contact', 'Official Animal Identification', and 'Physical Herd Inventory'.

Also, the Commission is amending the definitions for 'Chronic Wasting Disease' (CWD), 'CWD Profile', 'Herd', 'Official Eartag', 'Positive Herd'and 'Trace Herd'.

In rule 40.2, entitled “General Requirements,” the standard for restricting animals that are classified as trace-backs in response to the new federal standards is being amended. This is changing it from the current standard of 48 months to 60 months.

In proposed changes for rule 40.3 entitled “Herd Status Plans for Cervidae,” subsection (a) provides the enrollment requirements and stipulates that herd owners who enroll must agree to maintain their herds in accordance with these requirements. Subsection (b) provides the testing requirements. Subsection (c) establishes the various levels within the herd status program. Subsection (d) provides identification requirements and that each animal required to be identified by this section must have at least two forms of animal identification attached to the animal. Subsection (e) provides the record keeping requirements that the herd owner shall maintain records for animals including any movements and for a transfer of ownership, and provide those to Commission personnel upon request.

Records required to be kept under the provisions of this section shall be maintained for not less than five years under terms of the proposed rule change.

The records shall include the following information: all identifications (tags, tattoos electronic implants, etc.), birth date, species, sex, date of acquisition, and source of each animal that was not born into the herd, date of removal and destination of any animal removed from herd, date and cause of death for animals dying within the herd (if cause is known), date of CWD sample submission, submitter, owner, premises, and animal information, and official CWD test results from approved laboratory.

Subsection (f) provides that a premise where a herd is located may be inspected by the Commission to determine compliance with the requirements. Subsection (g) requires that a fee be paid for participation in a Commission CWD Herd Status Program for Cervidae as provided for in Rule 33.5 entitled “Herd Status/Certification Fees”.

In addition, an annual inventory verified by Commission personnel is assessed a fee of $100.00 per hour. Subsection (i) provides for cancellation or suspension of enrollment by the Executive Director.

In rule 40.5, subsection (a) is being changed to add definitions which are specific for this section. The rule is then amended throughout the section to indicate that the requirements are applicable to include North American elk or wapiti (Cervus Canadensis), red deer (Cervus elaphus), Sika deer (Cervus Nippon), moose (Alces alces), and any associated subspecies and hybrids. All mule deer, white-tailed deer, and native species under the jurisdiction of TPWD are excluded from this definition.

Section 40.7 is a new section which will delegate authority to the Executive Director to issue an order to declare a CWD high risk area or county based on sound epidemiological principles for disease detection, control, and eradication. Subsection (a) is definitions and subsection (b) provides that the Executive Director may issue an order to declare a CWD high risk area or county.

The epidemiological criteria used for designating an area or county as high risk may include the presence of disease, multiple positive animals in the area, and common husbandry and animal use practices that could lead to disease exposure. Subsection (c) indicates the necessary elements for an order and subsection (d) provides for the publication of notice.

Comments regarding the proposal may be submitted to Carol Pivonka, Texas Animal Health Commission, 2105 Kramer Lane, Austin, Texas 78758, by fax at (512) 719-0721 or by e-mail at “comments@tahc.state.tx.us”.