[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 251 (Tuesday, December 31, 2013)]
[Pages 79659-79660]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-31143]



Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. 00-108-10]

Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Certification Program and Interstate 
Movement of Farmed or Captive Deer, Elk, and Moose; Program Standards

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.


SUMMARY: We are giving notice of changes to the Program Standards for 
the chronic wasting disease (CWD) herd certification program. The CWD 
herd certification program is a voluntary, cooperative program that 
establishes minimum requirements for the interstate movement of farmed 
or captive cervids, provisions for participating States to administer 
Approved State CWD Herd Certification Programs, and provisions for 
participating herds to become certified as having a low risk of being 
infected with CWD. The Program Standards provide optional guidance, 
explanation, and clarification on how to meet the requirements for 
interstate movement and for the Herd Certification Programs. Recently, 
we convened a group of State, laboratory, and industry representatives 
to discuss possible changes to the current Program Standards. The 
revised Program Standards reflect these discussions, and we believe the 
revised version will improve understanding of the program among State 
and industry cooperators. We are making the revised version of the 
Program Standards available for review and comment.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before March 
31, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2006-0118-0401.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to 
Docket No. 00-108-10, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, 
Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.
    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may 
be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2006-
0118 or in our reading room, which is located in Room 1141 of the USDA 
South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, 
DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, 
please call (202) 799-7039 before coming.

Veterinarian, National Center for Animal Health Programs, Veterinary 
Services, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 43, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; 
(301) 851-3435.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a 
transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of cervids (members of 
Cervidae, the deer family) that, as of May 2011, has been found only in 
wild and captive animals in North America and in captive animals in the 
Republic of Korea. First recognized as a clinical ``wasting'' syndrome 
in 1967, the disease is typified by chronic weight loss leading to 
death. Species currently known to be susceptible to CWD via natural 
routes of transmission include Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, white-
tailed deer, black-tailed deer, sika deer, and moose.
    On June 13, 2012, we published in the Federal Register (77 FR 
35542-35571, Docket No. 00-108-8) an interim final rule \1\ that made 
effective on August 13, 2012, a final rule published on July 21, 2006 
(71 FR 41682-41707, Docket No. 00-108-3), with changes to the final 
rule as discussed in a previous proposal and in the interim final rule 
itself. This action established a voluntary herd certification program 
in 9 CFR part 55 for CWD in farmed or captive cervids. States that 
choose to participate must establish State Approved Herd Certification 
Programs in which States agree to perform tasks and meet requirements 
to ensure that the program is being effectively administered. Owners of 
deer, elk, and moose herds who choose to participate in the approved 
State programs must follow the program requirements for animal 
identification, testing, herd management, and movement of animals into 
and from herds.

    \1\ To view the interim final rule and the comments we received, 
go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2006-0118.

    The interim final rule also established a new part 81 containing 
interstate movement requirements designed to prevent the spread of CWD 
through the movement of farmed or captive deer, elk, or moose. The 
interim final rule set a compliance date of December 10, 2012, for the 
interstate movement provisions in 9 CFR part 81, to give States and 
producers time to come into compliance with the herd certification 
program requirements in 9 CFR part 55.
    The regulations for the voluntary CWD herd certification program in 
9 CFR part 55 establish minimum requirements for State and herd owner 
participation and allow States and herd owners to use any effective 
means to comply with those requirements. For example, participating 
States are required in Sec.  55.23(a)(6) to effectively monitor and 
enforce State quarantines and State reporting laws and regulations for 
CWD. Each State may have different means of meeting that requirement. 
Similarly, herd owners participating in the voluntary program must, 
under Sec.  55.23(b)(2), have fencing around their premises that is 
adequate to prevent ingress or egress of cervids; the regulations do 
not specify what type of fencing is necessary to meet this requirement, 
allowing our guidance to change based on scientific information and 
    To facilitate State and herd owner participation in the voluntary 
herd certification program, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service (APHIS) made available in July 2012 a document titled ``Chronic 
Wasting Disease Program Standards.'' This document provided detailed 
descriptions of

[[Page 79660]]

suggested methods for complying with the requirements in 9 CFR parts 55 
and 81.
    During the October 2012 U.S. Animal Health Association meeting, a 
resolution was passed asking APHIS to work with cervid industry 
stakeholders to revise the CWD Program Standards. Accordingly, we 
convened a group of State, laboratory, and industry representatives to 
receive their input on potential revisions. The group met from November 
2012 to June 2013 to completely review the CWD Program Standards. The 
revised draft, which is based on those discussions, is intended to 
provide more detailed guidance to States and herd owners who are 
seeking to participate in the Federal CWD herd certification program. 
As we believe the collaborative process has been helpful in revising 
the CWD Program Standards, we plan to work with State, laboratory, and 
industry representatives to review the standards at least once a year.
    The new draft of the CWD Program Standards can be viewed at the CWD 
Web site, http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_diseases/cwd/, or on Regulations.gov (see the ADDRESSES section earlier in this 
document for instructions on how to access Regulations.gov).
    We welcome public comment on this notice and the proposed revisions 
to the CWD Program Standards. After considering all comments, if no 
substantive changes to the CWD Program Standards are deemed necessary 
by the APHIS Administrator, the revised CWD Program Standards will be 
adopted as final 30 days after the close of the comment period for this 
notice. If substantive changes are deemed necessary, we will publish an 
additional document in the Federal Register to discuss them; otherwise, 
the final version of the revised CWD Program Standards will be 
announced and made available on the CWD Web site.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 20th day of December 2013.
 Kevin Shea,
 Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-31143 Filed 12-30-13; 8:45 am]