Recent rule changes related to chronic wasting disease (CWD) have impacted requirements for managing the disease. The new rules went into effect September 5, 2023. The following information includes helpful reminders and summarized information to highlight changes and assist you in ensuring standards are maintained and compliance is met. You may visit the TAHC website to view the updated rule in its entirety.
Title 4 Texas Administrative Code (TAC)
§§40.1, 40.2, 40.5, 40.6
Movement restrictions will remain in place until a TAHC epidemiologic investigation is performed and approved laboratory testing is complete.
- All CWD-suspect animals must be presented and reported and all mortalities of all CWD susceptible species shall be reported immediately to a TAHC or USDA veterinarian to collect appropriate samples.
- Within a CWD-trace herd, CWD-exposed animals must be humanely euthanized, tested for CWD by official CWD test, and disposed of; or maintained under the terms of a herd plan until all requirements of the herd plan are met.
- Within a CWD-positive herd, CWD-exposed animals must be humanely euthanized, tested for CWD by official CWD test, and disposed of; or maintained under the terms of a herd plan until all requirements of the herd plan are met. The herd remains under quarantine for five years from the last exposure to a CWD-positive animal or a CWD-exposed animal and until all herd plan requirements are met.
- An eligible mortality’s age of death is now lowered to 12 months of age. All eligible mortalities must be tested for CWD within seven days using an official CWD test. Therefore, removing the minimum test limit of three animals per year.
- Muntjac are now included as an Exotic CWD Susceptible Species. Mule deer, white-tailed deer, and other native species under the jurisdiction of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) are specified as excluded from the definition and application of certain amendments applying to Exotic CWD Susceptible Species.
- Test results and reports are required to be submitted within 14 days rather than the previous 30 days.
- Annual inventories for Exotic CWD Susceptible Species must be reconciled and submitted to the TAHC on or before April 1 of each year. These records must be retained for five years following submission.
- Geographic depictions, added as graphics, are available within the chapter for each of the movement restriction zones.
§40.3, CWD Herd Certification Program
Due to the extensive reorganization of §40.3, concerning CWD Herd Certification Program (HCP), the repeal of the entire section and replacement with a new section was adopted to make the required changes. The new section attempts to align the TAHC’s CWD Herd Certification Program with federal standards, provide clear guidance to participants in the program, and improve the administration of the program.
- The CWD HCP enrollment process is specified by listing prerequisites for enrollment and all steps required to have a herd enrolled, and requirements are explicitly listed in a single subsection. These requirements have not changed from previous rules, they are now contained under a single section.
- Immediate reporting of escaped or missing animals must be done by phone or email, and herds with white-tailed deer or mule deer must use the TPWD TWIMS system.
- Postmortem testing samples are to include the obex, both retropharyngeal lymph nodes, and an official animal identification device attached to ear or skin tissue collected and prepared under federal guidelines for CWD postmortem sample collection. These samples must be prepared and collected by a state or federal health official, an accredited veterinarian or a CWD postmortem sample collector.
- Missing samples occur when any animal 12 months of age or older dies, is harvested, slaughtered, escapes, or is otherwise lost and samples are not submitted for an official CWD test. Poor quality samples include samples that are severely autolyzed, from the wrong portion of the brain, the wrong tissue, or not testable for other reasons. If samples are missed or poor-quality samples are submitted, a TAHC representative will review the circumstances and determine if replacement testing is needed and set the replacement testing requirements.
- Annual inspections will take place during the annual inspection window, which is “The period of time each year for an enrolled herd to complete an annual inspection. Unless a specific period is set by a TAHC representative in writing, the annual inspection window begins 30 days before the month and day of the enrollment date and ends 30 days after the month and day of the enrollment date.”
- At each annual inspection, every animal in the herd is required to have one identification visually verified.
- Complete physical herd inventory timeline requirements are adapted to allow owners flexibility to complete the inventory at a time that best suits the safety of their herd, while still in accordance with federal standards.
- The herd status advancement and herd certification now mirror federal regulations and follow the year-for-year advancement in the federal standards.
- When a new animal is acquired from a herd from a lower status, the herd will be lowered to match the status of the new animal. The herd must be held in the lower status for at least 12 months, and can only advance status at the next anniversary of the enrollment date.
- A new section is added explicitly addressing situations where CWD is detected or is suspected in an enrolled herd and clarifying the steps the TAHC will take once there is a CWD-positive animal or CWD-suspect animal.
- If a herd owner does not comply with TAHC requirements, after a notice is given, the TAHC may lower herd status, suspend enrollment, or revoke program enrollment. Herd owners may protest an action affecting enrollment by writing to the executive director within 15 days after receipt of notice of the action or request a meeting with the executive director.