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TAHC updates certain animal health rules

Texas agency removes brucellosis testing requirements for exotic cervids and propose changes to cattle and equine rules, including designating BVD as reportable disease.

The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) held a regularly scheduled commission meeting on May 21, 2019, at its headquarters in Austin, Texas.

The agency said the following rules were adopted and will go into effect on June 12, 2019.

Chapter 51, Entry Requirements — Exotic Cervids. TAHC will no longer require brucellosis testing for captive exotic cervids entering Texas. However, brucellosis testing is still required for captive exotic cervids if they were once free ranging or if they resided within the Designated Surveillance Area or the Greater Yellowstone Area.

Rule Review for Chapter 38, Trichomoniasis; Chapter 43, Tuberculosis; Chapter 47, Authorized Personnel; Chapter 50, Animal Disease Traceability; Chapter 51, Entry Requirements. TAHC said it received no comments on the rule reviews. The Commission made the assessment that the rules should continue to exist for disease control purposes.

TAHC said the following amendments were proposed, and it will accept public comments on the proposals from June 7 to July 8.

Chapter 38, Trichomoniasis. Three changes were proposed to the trichomoniasis (trich) chapter, including:

1. The proposed amendment no longer allows samples to be pooled by approved laboratories as an official trichomoniasis test for positive herds, herds identified as adjacent premises and change of ownership testing. These samples must be submitted individually.

2. It was proposed that the use of virgin certificates be restricted to sexually intact male cattle under 18 months of age belonging to a breed registry, which maintains an official list of animals within a specific breed and associated with a unique identification. Thus, the amendment requires all male cattle under 18 months of age not belonging to a breed registry to be tested for trich before being sold.

3. The proposed amendment requires sellers to provide a written disclosure for female cattle that have been exposed or potentially exposed to a trich-positive bull within the six months prior to sale. The provision allows a buyer of female cattle to take this information into account for herd management when purchasing female cattle for breeding purposes.

Chapter 44, Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD). The proposed rule creates Chapter 44 for the purpose of establishing a Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV) control program. Due to the adverse effects the disease has on both the health and productivity of cattle, TAHC proposed to designate BVDV as a reportable disease in order to control the significant animal disease threat.

TAHC said the proposed rule contains the primary elements and standards of a BVDV control program, which include: movement restrictions on animals determined to be persistently infected (PI), reporting requirements, official BVDV tests and testing requirements, official identification requirements, biosecurity standards and recordkeeping requirements.

BVD is a viral disease of cattle and other ruminants that is a member of the pestivirus genus. The transient BVDV infections cause diarrhea, decreased milk production, reproductive disorders, increased occurrence of other diseases and death, TAHC explained. The losses from fetal infection include abortions, congenital defects, weak and abnormally small calves, unthrifty and death among PI animals. Learn more about BVDV at www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/emergingissues/downloads/bvdinfosheet.pdf.

Chapter 45, Reportable Disease (BVD). The proposed rule adds BVDV to the already established reportable disease list.

Chapter 49, Equine (Official Identification). The proposed amendment includes the following electronic identification (ID) as official identification for equine tested for equine infectious anemia (EIA): Unique and permanent forms of identifications, such as electronic ID compliant with ISO 11784/11785, non-ISO electronic ID injected in the equine on or before March 11, 2014, and digital photographs sufficient to identify the individual equine.

Chapter 51, Entry Requirements (Equine). The proposed amendment incorporates forms of electronic identification (see Chapter 49, Equine rule proposal) as official identification for equine moving on an equine passport.

TAHC said the deadline for comment submissions on the proposed amendments is July 8, 2019. Comments on the proposed chapters must be submitted in writing to Amanda Bernhard, Texas Animal Health Commission, 2105 Kramer Lane, Austin, Texas 78758, by fax at (512) 719-0719 or by email to comments@tahc.texas.gov. Complete details of the rule proposals are available on the TAHC website at www.tahc.texas.gov/regs/proposals.html.

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