In an effort keep all of our EWA members informed, below is the action and motion that was passed at the November 2, 2023 TPWD Commission Meeting.
We will continue to send updates as we receive them.
Chronic Wasting Disease is of the utmost importance and requires our full attention. We dedicated several hours yesterday to listen to technical experts discussing CWD and it became evident to me that there is still much debate and uncertainty surrounding the science and best management practices in this area. It is clear to all of us that we cannot ignore the impact of CWD and must take deliberate and thoughtful action to address it. However, such action must be considered in light of the impact the regulation would have on all stakeholders. I’d like to express my gratitude to the individuals and organizations who spoke today and submitted written comments. I’d also like to thank the legislators who took the time to share their views on this matter. As an appointed commission, I strongly believe that we should carefully consider the input and guidance we receive from the legislature.
Furthermore, I want to extend my appreciation to the wildlife staff who have actively engaged in this issue and provided invaluable insights to help us make well-informed decisions. However, based on the comments we have received and the discussions we had yesterday, it is evident that we cannot proceed with a proposed rule as it currently stands.
Therefore, I propose that we table the following provisions for further considerations for Chronic Wasting Disease:
- Reproduce the statutory provisions governing the required permanent identification tags on breeder deer.
- Provide for the transport of deer carcasses from CWD management zones to a final destination or taxidermist provided a TPWD issued check station receipt has been obtained.
- Impose statewide carcass disposal measures.
- Impose residency requirement on breeder deer as condition of transfer to another breeding facility or to a release site.
- Prohibit the release of breeder deer prior to April 1 of the year following birth.
With regard to the remainder of the rule, I am comfortable moving forward on and implementing these actions.
- Require antemortem live animal testing of test eligible deer prior to transfer from a breeding facility to another breeding facility.
- Eliminate provisions allowing deer breeders to transfer fawns to external facilities for nursing purposes.
- Impose a 7-day deadline for submission of CWD test samples for TTP permits.
- Remove the 3-year sunset of provisions governing the antemortem testing of breeder deer prior to release.
- Change the deadline for Category B trace breeder facilities to submit required whole-herd antemortem CWD samples from 45 days to 60 days.
- Strengthen provisions governing the obligations of release site owners in the event the release site becomes epidemiologically linked to a CWD positive deer breeding facility and however it should be noted, we are going from 1 day to 7 days on testing.
- Provide for the suspension of managed land deer programs (MLDP) privileges for landowners who fail to comply with harvest testing and record keeping requirements at a release site epidemiologically linked to a CWD positive deer facility.
And I will say, we are tabling the first provisions that I listed, and we will come back to those with more scientific evidence, with more discussion with staff so those are not off the table, but we are going to take as thoughtful a look as possible in regard to these provisions taking all shareholders and stakeholders into effect.”
Commissioner Bell moved for the motion to be approved. Commissioner Abell seconded the motion. Motion passed.