The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has finalized the chronic wasting disease (CWD) herd certification program standards that were originally published on March 29, 2018, for stakeholder feedback.
According to the announcement, APHIS made revisions to the standards based on input from internal and external stakeholders, including U.S. and Canadian scientific experts on CWD and transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, a working group of state and federal animal health and wildlife officials and representatives from the farmed cervid industry.
APHIS said the revisions cover a variety of topics, including: adding guidelines for live animal testing in specific situations; clarifying how disease investigations should be handled; aligning with the Code of Federal Regulations’ requirement for mortality testing; simplifying fencing requirements; adding biosecurity recommendations, and describing the agency’s intended approach to update the CWD-susceptible species list.
APHIS also outlined factors for determining indemnity and included a table with possible reductions in herd certification status that states may consider for herd owners who do not submit required mortality surveillance samples or consistently submit unusable testing samples, the announcement said.
When APHIS published the revised CWD herd certification program standards in 2018, it received 334 comments from state animal health agencies, wildlife agencies and organizations, cervid producers and other industry stakeholders. After reviewing the comments, APHIS said it made considerable effort — within the bounds of its authority — to address all concerns while maintaining program integrity.
The final revised program standards are in effect and can be found at www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/cervid/cervids-cwd/cervids-voluntary-hcp. These final standards will also be published in a notice in the Federal Register in the coming weeks, APHIS said.