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TITLE 4AGRICULTURE
PART 2TEXAS ANIMAL HEALTH COMMISSION
CHAPTER 40CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE
RULE §40.3CWD Herd Certification Program

(a) Definitions. In addition to the definitions in §40.1 of this chapter (relating to Definitions), the following words and terms, when used in this section, shall have the following meanings:

  (1) Animal--An animal in the Cervidae family.

  (2) Annual inspection window--The period of time each year for an enrolled herd to complete an annual inspection. Unless a specific period is set by a commission 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.

  (3) Application and Agreement--The CWD Herd Certification Application and Agreement, a form published by the commission that is available on the commission website and available at TAHC region offices.

  (4) Eligible Mortality--The death from any cause of an animal 12 months of age or older, including hunter harvests and animals slaughtered at a slaughter facility or processing facility.

  (5) Enrolled herd--A herd that has been approved for enrollment in the program.

  (6) Enrollment Date--The day, month, and year in which an owners herd is officially enrolled in the Program.

  (7) Local TAHC Region Office--The TAHC Region Office that covers the county in which the herd's premises is located.

  (8) Program--The CWD Herd Certification Program administered by the commission.

  (9) Status--The status of a herd assigned under the program that follows the requirements in 9 CFR Part 55. Herd status is based on the number of years of compliance with the requirements of the program without evidence of the disease and without any specific determinations that the herd has contained or has been exposed to CWD.

  (10) TWIMS--Texas Wildlife Information Management Services database operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Departments wildlife division

(b) Program Enrollment Process.

  (1) Application and Agreement. For each herd, an owner shall submit a signed application and agreement to the local TAHC region office. An owner may enroll multiple herds but is required to submit an application and agreement for each herd and maintain each herd separately in accordance with this section.

  (2) Enrollment Inspection. After application submission, a commission representative will schedule and conduct an enrollment inspection. For each herd, a commission representative will:

    (A) visually observe each animal in the herd and the herd as a whole, for clinical signs of CWD;

    (B) verify and record the two unique animal identification numbers for each individual animal, one of which shall be a nationally unique official animal identification, all required identification devices will be visually verified and reconciled with the herd owner's records;

    (C) perform a herd inventory not more than 60 days prior to the herd's date of enrollment, unless an alternative timeframe is suggested by a commission representative and approved by the executive director; and

    (D) identify the premises with a premise-based number system using a Premises Identification Number (PIN) or Location Identification Number (LID) and confirm perimeter fencing is adequate to prevent ingress and egress of cervids, structurally sound, in good repair, and meets any applicable height requirements.

  (3) Fees. The commission will assess a fee of $100 per hour for the enrollment inspection performed by a commission representative. The herd owner is responsible for the fees assessed.

  (4) Enrollment approval by a commission representative. After the enrollment inspection is complete, a commission representative will approve or deny the application. The date the application is approved is the enrollment date.

(c) Program Requirements. Herd owners who enroll in the Program must comply with the following requirements:

  (1) Premises.

    (A) Maintain the enrolled herd on the identified premises.

    (B) Premises must have perimeter fencing adequate to prevent ingress and or egress of cervids. For herds established after October 15, 2021, the fence must be a minimum of eight feet high.

    (C) To maintain separate herds, a herd owner shall maintain herds on separate identified premises that have:

      (i) separate herd inventories and records;

      (ii) separate working facilities;

      (iii) separate water sources;

      (iv) separate equipment; and

      (v) at least 30 feet between the perimeter fencing around separate herds, and no commingling of animals may occur.

    (D) Movement of animals between separate herds by the same owner must be recorded as if they were separately owned herds.

  (2) Animal Identification.

    (A) Each animal is required to be identified by two forms of animal identification attached to the animal.

      (i) One of the identifications must be a nationally unique official animal identification number linked to that animal in the CWD National Database or a commission approved database.

      (ii) The second identification must be unique for the individual animal within the herd and linked to the CWD National Database or a commission approved database.

    (B) Identify all animals born in the herd.

      (i) Each animal born must be identified no later than March 31 of the year following the year the animal is born with the required identification.

      (ii) Each animal born that changes ownership or is moved from the premises of origin before 12 months of age shall be identified with required identification prior to change of ownership or movement from the premises of origin.

  (3) Reporting requirements.

    (A) Required reporting. The herd owner shall:

      (i) immediately report upon discovery all herd animals that escape or disappear;

      (ii) immediately report upon discovery all free-ranging cervids that enter the facility;

      (iii) immediately report a CWD-suspect animal;

      (iv) report test results and provide laboratory reports within 14 days of receiving the results of an official CWD test;

      (v) report all animals added to the herd within five business days of the acquisition, the report should include the official identification, species, age, and sex of the animal, date of acquisition, and name and identification of the herd of origin;

      (vi) report all incidences of commingled animals within five business days, the report should include the official identification, species, age, and sex of the animal, when the commingling occurred, the length of time the commingling occurred, and name and identification of the herd of origin of the commingled animal; and

      (vii) report all results from annual inspections and complete physical herd inventories performed by a TAHC authorized veterinarian within 14 days.

    (B) Methods of reporting.

      (i) Immediate reporting must be by phone or email to a local TAHC region office.

      (ii) Enrolled herds with white-tailed deer and mule deer must use TWIMS to track births, deaths, CWD test results, and animal movement.

      (iii) All other reporting must be made to the local TAHC region office in writing. Reporting may be submitted by email, fax, mail, or hand delivery during business hours. Reporting must be transmitted or postmarked by the reporting deadline.

  (4) Testing.

    (A) The herd owner must test all eligible mortalities for CWD via immunohistochemistry (IHC) testing with an official CWD test.

    (B) Postmortem tissue samples must be collected and prepared by a state or federal animal health official, an accredited veterinarian, or a certified CWD postmortem sample collector and submitted to an approved laboratory within seven days.

    (C) Test results must be reported in accordance with this section.

    (D) If samples are missed or poor-quality samples are submitted, a commission representative will review the circumstances and determine if replacement testing is needed and set the replacement testing requirements. 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.

    (E) If the number of eligible mortalities is less than five percent of the herd when averaged over a three-year period, a commission representative will review the circumstances and determine if replacement testing is needed and set the replacement testing requirements.

    (F) Approval for replacement testing must be obtained prior to performing the replacement testing. Animals eligible to be tested as replacements will be determined by a commission representative. If approved, replacement testing using postmortem samples will use a one to one replacement rate. If approved and antemortem testing is available for the species at an approved laboratory, replacement testing using antemortem testing will use a five to one replacement rate.

  (5) Recordkeeping.

    (A) The herd owner shall maintain herd records that include a complete inventory of animals with documents showing all births, deaths, acquisitions, dispositions, and escaped or disappeared animals.

    (B) Herd owner inventory records, maintained outside of TWIMS, should indicate natural additions with "NA," purchased additions with "PA," and retagged animals with "RT."

    (C) The herd owner shall maintain all test result records for those animals that died and be able to produce the full laboratory results upon request.

    (D) For white-tailed deer and mule deer, all required animal information must be entered into TWIMS, including uploading full laboratory results.

    (E) For animals that have left the herd or have died, the owner must maintain the following information for five years:

      (i) All identifications (tags, tattoos, electronic implants, etc.);

      (ii) Birth date;

      (iii) Species;

      (iv) Sex;

      (v) Date of acquisition and source of each animal that was not born into the herd, including name and address;

      (vi) Date of removal and destination of any animal removed from the herd, including name and address;

      (vii) Date of death and cause, if known, for animals dying within the herd;

      (viii) Date of CWD sample submission, submitter, owner, premises, animal information, and official CWD test results; and

      (ix) Age.

    (F) Records will be verified for completeness and accuracy at each annual inspection and complete physical inventory.

    (G) Records must be made available to a commission or USDA representative upon request.

  (6) Annual Inspection.

    (A) Each year an annual inspection must be conducted by a commission representative or a TAHC Authorized Veterinarian.

    (B) Unless authorized in writing by a commission representative, the annual inspection must occur during the herd's annual inspection window.

    (C) At each annual inspection, a commission representative or TAHC Authorized Veterinarian will:

      (i) inventory the herd by visually verifying one required identification on every animal;

      (ii) reconcile the previous inventory and verify all dispositions and acquisitions are documented;

      (iii) visually observe the herd for clinical signs of CWD;

      (iv) verify records are complete and accurate;

      (v) verify that CWD sampling requirements are met, test records are complete, and verify that all deficient, missed, or poor-quality samples were documented; and

      (vi) inspect perimeter fencing for minimum standards and document needed repairs.

    (D) A commission representative or TAHC Authorized Veterinarian will certify by signature that all annual inspection requirements are met and that the herd complies with the program.

    (E) Results from the complete physical herd inventory must be reported to the commission within 14 days, unless the complete physical herd inventory is performed by a commission representative.

    (F) The herd owner is responsible for assembling, handling, and restraining the animals and for all costs incurred to present the animals for inspection.

    (G) If the herd owner requests the annual inspection be conducted by a commission employee, the commission will assess a fee of $100 per hour for the annual inspection performed by a commission representative. The herd owner is responsible for the fees assessed.

    (H) If the annual inspection will be conducted by a TAHC Authorized Veterinarian, the herd owner must notify the local TAHC region office by phone or email at least 72 hours prior to any inspection performed by a TAHC Authorized Veterinarian.

  (7) Complete Physical Herd Inventory.

Cont'd...

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