Dr. Dee Ellis, Texas Animal Health Commission Executive Director and State Veterinarian, has announced the agency is accepting public comments on the amendment of three rules proposed during the commission’s January meeting in Austin.

The proposals are to amend Chapter 40, entitled "Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)," Chapter 41, entitled "Fever Ticks," and Chapter 55, entitled "Swine."

Proposed changes to Chronic Wasting Disease Rule

The proposed amendment to the rule addressing Chronic Wasting Disease involves changing movement requirements for species susceptible to the disease. The commission is also proposing to repeal existing Section 40.5 concerning testing requirements for Elk.

The new section is for the purpose of revising the current surveillance requirements for the state’s intrastate movement of elk to include exotic livestock, which are susceptible to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

The commission recently addressed a number of different regulations and agency actions in response to recent developments involving CWD. The commission also adopted changes to the commission’s CWD voluntary program in response to the changes in the federal CWD program. In addition, the commission recently authorized the executive director to designate areas of the state as being at a high risk for CWD based on disclosure of any positive animals. This measure represents an effort to protect these animal resources within the state.

Additional proposed changes include modifying the current CWD program to include red deer and Sika deer and their hybrids because of recent actions which have classified them as being a susceptible species for CWD. The purpose of the program was to establish testing surveillance for elk and now includes these added species. Based on the inclusion of red deer and Sika deer and other members of the cervid family as susceptible species, the commission is proposing this new section to be applicable to all cervid species known to be susceptible to CWD, excluding all mule deer, white-tailed deer, and native species under the jurisdiction of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).