Notice of Determination; Changes to the Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Certification Program Standards

Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 200 (Wednesday, October 16, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 200 (Wednesday, October 16, 2019)]
[Page 55274]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office []
[FR Doc No: 2019-22453]
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Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 200 / Wednesday, October 16, 2019 /
[[Page 55274]]
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
[Docket No. APHIS-2018-0011]
Notice of Determination; Changes to the Chronic Wasting Disease
Herd Certification Program Standards
AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.
ACTION: Notice.
SUMMARY: We are updating the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Herd
Certification Program Standards. In a previous notice, we made
available to the public for review and comment proposed changes to the
CWD Program Standards to provide guidance on how to meet CWD Herd
Certification Program and interstate movement requirements.
DATES: The updated program standards became available on May 20, 2019.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Tracy Nichols, Staff Officer,
Cervid Health Team, Surveillance, Preparedness, and Response Services,
VS, APHIS, USDA, 2150 Centre Avenue, Bldg. B, Fort Collins, CO 80526;
(970) 494-7380.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a
transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of cervids (members of
Cervidae, the deer family). Species currently known to be susceptible
to CWD include elk, mule deer, moose, white-tailed deer, sika deer,
muntjac, reindeer, and black-tailed deer.
    In 2014, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
implemented the National CWD Herd Certification Program (HCP), a
voluntary Federal-State-industry cooperative program administered by
APHIS and implemented by participating States. Currently, 28 States
participate in the program. States and herd owners choosing to
participate must comply with the provisions of 9 CFR parts 55 and 81
(referred to below as the regulations), which include requirements for
animal identification, interstate movement, fencing, recordkeeping,
herd inspections and inventories, animal mortality testing, and
response to any findings of CWD-exposed, -suspect, or -positive herds.
APHIS monitors the approved State HCPs to ensure consistency with
Federal standards by means of annual State reporting. With each year of
successful surveillance, participating herds will advance in status.
After 5 years with no evidence of CWD, APHIS will certify the herd for
CWD. Only captive cervids from certified herds for CWD may move
    On March 29, 2018, we published in the Federal Register (83 FR
13469-13470, Docket No. APHIS-2018-0011) a notice of availability of a
revised version of the CWD Herd Certification Program Standards. These
standards provide guidance on how to meet the program and interstate
movement requirements referenced above. The proposed revisions
addressed concerns of State and industry participants about the
existing standards.
    We solicited comments on the CWD Herd Certification Program
Standards for 30 days ending on April 30, 2018. We extended the
deadline for comments until May 30, 2018, in a document published in
the Federal Register on April 26, 2018 (83 FR 18264, Docket No. APHIS-
2018-0011).\1\ We received 334 comments by that date. They were from
producers, industry groups, representatives of State governments, and
private citizens. We received a number of comments on the content of
the regulations themselves and not on the specifics of the revised CWD
Program Standards. As the notice only served to alert the public of the
availability of that document for review and comment, any comments
focusing on the regulations themselves are outside the scope of the
request for comment and will not be addressed. The remaining comments
provided valuable insight into stakeholder concerns and priorities.
    \1\ To view the notice, the CWD Herd Certification Standards,
and the comments we received, go to!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2018-0011.
    After reviewing the comments, where practicable and within the
bounds of our authority, we made changes to the CWD Program Standards
in order to address commenter concerns while maintaining program
integrity. The revisions cover a variety of topics including: Adding
guidelines for live animal testing in specific situations; clarifying
how disease investigations should be handled; aligning with the
regulatory requirement for mortality testing; simplifying fencing
requirements; adding biosecurity recommendations; and describing the
Agency's intended approach to update the CWD-susceptible species list.
We also outline factors for determining indemnity and include a table
with possible reductions in herd certification status that States may
consider for herd owners that do not submit required mortality
surveillance samples or consistently submit unusable testing samples.
    The revised CWD Program Standards are in effect and may be found on
the internet at
    Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.),
the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs designated this action
as a non-major rule, as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).
    Done in Washington, DC, this 9th day of October 2019.
 Kevin Shea,
 Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-22453 Filed 10-15-19; 8:45 am]