TITLE 4. AGRICULTURE

PART 2. TEXAS ANIMAL HEALTH COMMISSION

CHAPTER 38. TRICHOMONIASIS

4 TAC §§38.1, 38.4, 38.6

The Texas Animal Health Commission (commission) adopts amendments to §38.1, concerning Definitions and §38.6, concerning Official Trichomoniasis Tests without changes to the proposed text as published in the September 9, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 6845). Section 38.4, concerning Certified Veterinary Practitioners is being adopted with changes to correct grammatical errors in the proposed text and will be republished.

The purpose of the amendments is to change the Trichomoniasis (Trich) certification period for veterinarians and reduce the shipping time for sample submission as well as to remove bison from being required to test.

The Trich organism causes abortion and extended calving seasons. Bulls will remain persistently infected and spread infection from cow to cow. Older bulls are typically the main reservoir of infection in a herd; this is because older bulls often have deeper preputial folds (crypts) creating a more favorable environment for Trich.

The Bovine Trich Working Group (TWG) had an annual meeting on April 26, 2016, to evaluate the effectiveness of current rules. The TWG discussed the program overview to date, the management of infected herds, entry requirements, and the need for possible revisions to the program.

The TWG recommended extending the certification period of veterinarians certified to perform Trich program functions from 3 years to 5 years. The TWG also recommended reducing the time of arrival of Trich samples sent to the lab for testing. The group discussed the integrity of the sample to be tested at 120 hours, which provides a longer chance for inhibitors to negatively impact testing. Literature shows that after 30 hours there is a decline; therefore, the group recommended changing the arrival time at the lab from 120 hours to 96 hours.

The definition of cattle in this chapter includes bison and is being amended to exclude bison from the test requirements. Research has failed to show that bison pose a significant risk to spread or carry Trich and the Executive Director has routinely waived the test requirement in the past.

The commission received one comment from Duane and Nancy Daniel. The commenters indicated that "{b}ison have been in King County for several years and have been a problem for the ranchers who own property that adjoins the bison owners. Bison have little respect for fences and often roam where they are unwelcome. The ownership of property in this area is changing as people coming from the urban areas invest in ranch country and high fence it in order to attempt to contain Bison and various exotic game animals."

The commenters went on to state that "{i}f there is an infected herd of Bison and they are not required to be tested for Trichomoniasis, the work and diligence of cattlemen is all for nothing when infected bison jump a fence and start breeding cattle. Since bison are now considered to be property and not wildlife, stray bison cannot be euthanized as other problem wildlife could be, nor can bison owners guarantee that their bison will stay on their own property. For the above reasons, please insure that a rule stays in place that requires bison to be tested for Trichomoniasis."

The commission appreciates the concern of the commenters, but the commission would like to note that this exclusion does not change how Bison are classified in this state. It is merely recognizing that the testing requirement as related to Bison is overly burdensome because Trich has not been shown to be an issue with Bison and transmitted by them. The requirement is particularly burdensome on change of ownership and has historically been waived when requested because of there being no known or minimal disease risk. That said, the commenters do raise a legitimate concern regarding potential Trich exposure due to Bison being on another's property. It should be noted that for situations when Trich positive cattle are discovered in a known negative herd and it's attributed to Bison, then independently of this rule, Bison will be required to be tested to epidemiological assess the exposure. For those reasons, the commission is not making any changes to the proposal.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The amendments are adopted under the following statutory authority as found in Chapter 161 of the Texas Agriculture Code. The commission is vested by statute, §161.041(a), with the requirement to protect all livestock, domestic animals, and domestic fowl from disease. The commission is authorized, through §161.041(b), to act to eradicate or control any disease or agent of transmission for any disease that affects livestock. Pursuant to §161.005, entitled "Commission Written Instruments", the commission may authorize the executive director or another employee to sign written instruments on behalf of the commission. A written instrument, including a quarantine or written notice signed under that authority, has the same force and effect as if signed by the entire commission.

Pursuant to §161.006, entitled "Documents to Accompany Shipment", if required that a certificate or permit accompany animals or commodities moved in this state, the document must be in the possession of the person in charge of the animals or commodities, if the movement is made by any other means.

Pursuant to §161.0417, entitled "Authorized Personnel for Disease Control", a person, including a veterinarian, must be authorized by the commission in order to engage in an activity that is part of a state or federal disease control or eradication program for animals. Section 161.0417 requires the commission to adopt necessary rules for the authorization of such persons and, after reasonable notice, to suspend or revoke a person's authorization if the commission determines that the person has substantially failed to comply with Chapter 161 or rules adopted under that chapter. Section 161.0417 does not affect the requirement for a license or an exemption under Chapter 801, Occupations Code, to practice veterinary medicine.

Pursuant to §161.046, entitled "Rules", the commission may adopt rules as necessary for the administration and enforcement of this chapter.

Pursuant to §161.048, entitled "Inspection of Shipment of Animals or Animal Products", the commission may require testing, vaccination, or another epidemiologically sound procedure before or after animals are moved. An agent of the commission is entitled to stop and inspect a shipment of animals or animal products being transported in this state in order to determine if the shipment originated from a quarantined area or herd; or determine if the shipment presents a danger to the public health or livestock industry through insect infestation or through a communicable or noncommunicable disease.

Pursuant to §161.101, entitled "Duty to Report", a veterinarian, a veterinary diagnostic laboratory, or a person having care, custody, or control of an animal shall report the existence of the diseases, if required by the commission, among livestock, exotic livestock, bison, domestic fowl, or exotic fowl to the commission within 24 hours after diagnosis of the disease.

Pursuant to §161.113, entitled "Testing or Treatment of Livestock", if the commission requires testing or vaccination under this subchapter, the testing or vaccination must be performed by an accredited veterinarian or qualified person authorized by the commission. The state may not be required to pay the cost of fees charged for the testing or vaccination. And if the commission requires the dipping of livestock under this subchapter, the livestock shall be submerged in a vat, sprayed, or treated in another sanitary manner prescribed by rule of the commission.

§38.4.Certified Veterinary Practitioners.

(a) Only veterinarians certified through the Commission may perform Trichomoniasis program procedures, including but not limited to, collection of samples for official tests for Trichomoniasis within the state of Texas, submission of samples to official laboratories, identification of tested bulls and virgin bulls, management of Trichomoniasis infected bull herds, movement of infected bulls, and reporting of test results. In order to collect and submit Trichomoniasis samples a veterinary practitioner shall be certified to perform Trichomoniasis program procedures. In order to be certified, a veterinarian shall also be licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the state of Texas and be accredited through USDA.

(b) All veterinarians desiring to perform Trichomoniasis program functions shall participate in a certification program on Trichomoniasis program requirements and procedures before performing any Trichomoniasis program functions, including but not limited to review of the disease, proper sample collection techniques, sample preservation and laboratory submission, identification of animals, management of infected herds and shipment of infected or exposed animals to slaughter. The official certification program shall be conducted by or under the auspices of the Commission. Certified veterinarians shall be recertified every five years.

(c) Certified veterinarians shall utilize approved procedures for collection of samples, identification of animals and submission of samples to laboratories.

(d) Certified veterinarians shall only utilize the official laboratories for culture of Trichomoniasis samples.

(e) Certified veterinarians shall submit all Trichomoniasis samples including all official identification on official Trichomoniasis test and report forms to the TVMDL in accordance with §38.6 of this chapter (relating to Official Trichomoniasis Tests).

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on December 13, 2016.

TRD-201606566

Gene Snelson

General Counsel

Texas Animal Health Commission

Effective date: January 2, 2017

Proposal publication date: September 9, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 719-0722


CHAPTER 40. CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE

4 TAC §40.4, §40.6

The Texas Animal Health Commission (commission) adopts amendments to §40.4, concerning Entry Requirements, and new §40.6, concerning CWD Movement Restriction Zones, with changes to the proposed text as published in the September 9, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 6847). The text of the rules will be republished.

The commission contemporaneously adopts the repeal of the existing §40.6, concerning CWD Movement Restriction Zone.

The purpose of the amendments is to create additional CWD movement restriction zones in areas where animals have been disclosed as CWD positive. The amendments will also prohibit the entry of the carcasses or parts of susceptible species outside of Texas where CWD has been detected in free-ranging or captive herds, unless certain conditions have been met.

CWD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). CWD is a progressive, fatal, degenerative neurological disease of farmed and free-ranging deer, elk, and moose. TSEs include a number of different diseases affecting animals or humans including bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, scrapie in sheep and goats, and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (CJD) in humans. Although CWD shares certain features with other TSEs, it is a distinct disease affecting only deer, elk, and moose. The species known to be susceptible to CWD are North American elk or wapiti (Cervus Canadensis), red deer (Cervus elaphus), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Sika deer (Cervus Nippon), and moose (Alces alces). The species that are found in Texas are white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, red deer, and Sika deer.

The agent that causes CWD and other TSEs has not been completely characterized; however, the theory supported by most scientists is that TSE diseases are caused by proteins called prions. The most recent research suggests that CWD is directly transmitted from one animal to another through saliva, feces, urine, and/or antler velvet which contain abnormal prions shed in those body fluids and tissues. Direct transmission can also occur between cervids and infected carcasses. The disease has a long incubation period, and animals infected with CWD may not produce any visible signs of the disease for a number of months to years after they become infected. An animal may shed prions without obvious clinical symptoms for an unknown amount of time. The disease can also be indirectly transmitted through contaminated environments and since prions are very resistant to degradation persistence may be in some environments for years.

Clinical signs of CWD may include weight loss, salivation, incoordination, behavior changes, and pneumonia. CWD primarily affects the nervous system in cervids but accumulation of the prion also occurs in other body systems including the lymphatic system. Therefore, the official tests (i.e. Elisa and IHC) designated by USDA target the identification of prions in the nervous and lymphatic systems. Presently, the only confirmatory diagnostic test for CWD is the Immunohistochemistry (IHC) test performed on the obex tissue of the brain and specific lymphoid tissues. This is a post-mortem test in which the animal must be dead to be tested. There is no known treatment or vaccine for CWD.

The commission works in coordination and collaboration with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to address CWD issues and concerns. All mule deer, white-tailed deer, and native species are under the jurisdiction of TPWD. They are classified as property of the state of Texas and TPWD manages them as a valuable and important resource of the state. TPWD through specific statutory authorization does allow for individuals to breed, trade, sell, and move white-tailed or mule deer that meet certain legal requirements.

Elk, Sika deer, and red deer are also classified as CWD susceptible species, but are not indigenous to the state and therefore, not subject to the jurisdiction of TPWD. They are classified as exotic livestock that are privately owned and are subject to the disease requirements of the commission. Texas has an unknown number of exotic cervid species that are maintained on private property behind high fences. Many of these facilities are hunting ranches, which are not subject to the seasonal and regulatory hunting restrictions of TPWD.

Surveillance testing is a key, critical component to early detection of the disease and also the monitoring of the disease prevalence in all areas of the state where any CWD susceptible species inhabit. Risk based surveillance is directing surveillance activities in a particular geographic area where CWD is most likely to be found based on host factors and potential exposure. An inadequate surveillance program promotes the spread of disease unnoticed and ultimately makes the task of disease freedom exponentially more difficult. In today's current environment, the mobility and transportation of agricultural animals throughout the state and country has greatly increased the spread of diseases and makes risk mitigation more difficult and complex. A good surveillance system supports our animal industries by having confidence in the health and marketability of their animals.

Though the white-tailed deer population in Texas has had significant historical surveillance, very few elk, red deer or Sika deer herds have participated in a CWD monitoring program providing very little CWD testing surveillance for these cervid species. The purpose of this proposal is to have surveillance where CWD has been detected and poses a risk.

CWD was first recognized in 1967 in captive mule deer in Colorado. The disease has since been documented in captive and/or free-ranging deer and elk in 23 states and 2 Canadian provinces, including Texas. In 2012, CWD was first discovered in Texas in a free-ranging mule deer in the Hueco Mountains along the New Mexico border in far West Texas.

On June 30, 2015, a two year old white-tailed deer at a breeding facility (Index facility) located in Medina County was confirmed positive for CWD. Through testing requirements associated with tracing of deer either from or moved to this facility, CWD has also been confirmed in 25 other captive white-tailed deer as of July 30, 2016, which includes three facilities other than the Index facility. Two of the three additional facilities are in Medina and Uvalde counties and one facility is in Lavaca County. To date, CWD detected in white-tailed deer have all originated in the deer breeder population rather than a native origin.

Also, a free-ranging mule deer buck, harvested in Hartley County, was confirmed positive for CWD on March 3, 2016. Hartley County is located in the Texas Panhandle immediately to the south of Dalhart and borders New Mexico.

The commission works in coordination and collaboration with TPWD to address CWD issues and concerns. A task force comprised of members of affected deer and exotic livestock associations, private veterinary practitioners, and wildlife biologists assisted the TPWD and commission staff in developing a CWD response plan for restriction zones. They provided support for both agencies on a strategy to address the risk of exposure of CWD to susceptible species in Texas. In 2012, both TPWD and the commission created a restricted zone in the area of far West Texas that requires testing of susceptible species and restricts movement of live animals and carcasses from the zone. The commission and TPWD are proposing additional restricted zones which will require testing of susceptible species in those areas and restricted movement of live animals. TPWD has proposed its movement restriction zones in the July 22, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 5391).

Deer populations in other states where CWD exists have experienced significant population declines. As the prevalence rates increase and geographic distribution expands, hunters may alter hunting behaviors which may include avoiding areas with high CWD prevalence. This could have an adverse economic impact on local communities dependent on hunting revenue and could negatively affect cervid populations. Considering that CWD has been found within these identified zones, it may be established in the population and in the environment at this time.

CWD has been proven to be transmissible by direct contact between susceptible species and through environmental contamination. Those realties can create adverse economic impacts through the reluctance to purchase or to hunt a susceptible species from a facility in an area where CWD has been confirmed. CWD contaminates the environments which creates a serious obstacle for controlling and eradicating the disease. This can negatively impact ranching, hunting, real estate, tourism, and wildlife management-related economies, unless it is contained and controlled. The purpose of the restriction zones is to both reduce the risk of CWD being spread from areas where it might exist and to increase detection of CWD by increased surveillance.

This rule is for the purpose of protecting the susceptible species and their associated economic value from being exposed to CWD as well as to provide the necessary surveillance in these areas to epidemiologically determine the presence and potentially identify a source of the exposure for animals in an area. Ultimately, the goal is to be able to make a determination with a high confidence rate regarding the presence of the disease. The data collected from the testing in these areas can help to either classify the area as free of exposure or hopefully, pinpoint a source or specific area for focusing disease eradication. Thus, the rules provide a mechanism to minimize the spread of CWD, which could also protect the economic interests of those involved in this industry.

Section 40.6(a) creates definitions that are specifically applied to this section and include "Check Station", "CWD Containment Zone", "CWD Surveillance Zone", "CWD Non-Native Susceptible Species", "CWD Native Susceptible Species", "Department", "High Fence Premises" and "Unnatural Movement".

Section 40.6(b) provides for a declaration of area(s) being restricted for CWD in order to protect other areas of the state from the risk of exposure to and the spread of CWD and to have necessary surveillance to epidemiologically assess the risk.

Section 40.6(b)(1) defines the boundaries for the Containment Zone 1 and 2 and indicates that the Containment Zone in Medina County is limited to facilities already restricted by herd plans of the commission.

Section 40.6(b)(2) defines the boundaries for Surveillance Zone 1, 2 and 3.

Section 40.6(c) provides requirements for animals within the Containment Zone. It provides that for movement from a CZ, no non-native CWD susceptible species may be transported outside the CZ unless from a herd with a certified status as established through §40.3(c)(6) (relating to Herd Status Plans for Cervidae) of this chapter. This is to prevent unmonitored animals from being transported outside the zone and potentially posing a risk of exposing or spreading CWD to another part of the state. It also addresses that non-native CWD susceptible species may be released within the CZ. It provides test requirements for these species, as well as carcass movement restrictions. Any escaped non-native CWD susceptible species which originated or resided in a CZ shall be captured and returned to the high fence premises of origin. Herd plans will have primacy for facilities within the zone and all non-native CWD susceptible species released in a CZ shall be officially identified.

Section 40.6(d) provides requirements for animals within the Surveillance Zone. It provides that prior to movement of a non-native CWD susceptible species, the premises of origin shall have an epidemiological risk assessment conducted by the commission. This will allow the agency to individually evaluate the risk of movement from a facility based on that facility's testing history, current status, and other epidemiological factors. It provides test requirements for these species, as well as carcass movement restrictions. Any escaped non-native CWD susceptible species which originated or resided in an SZ shall be captured and returned to the high fence premises of origin. Herd plans will have primacy for facilities within the zone and all non-native CWD susceptible species released in an SZ shall be officially identified.

Section 40.6(e) provides for Carcass Movement Restrictions, which states that no person shall transport or cause the transport of any part of a susceptible species from a property within a CZ or SZ unless it meets certain requirements.

Section 40.6(f) provides for the Executive Director to authorize movement if necessary or desirable to promote the objectives of this chapter and/or to minimize the economic impact of the restricted susceptible species without endangering those objectives or the health and safety of other susceptible species within the state.

Section 40.6(g) provides for the commission staff to annually review the movement restrictions zones and make recommendations to the commission on whether the zones should be modified or rescinded.

The Exotic Wildlife Association and Texas Deer Association submitted comments which supported carcass restrictions, as well as entry requirements for harvested animals. However, both associations stated that they believe the mandatory testing of susceptible species, within any of the restriction zones, should not be required. They encouraged the approach to white-tailed deer monitoring by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and believe a similar, voluntary monitoring method should be implemented to match the existing surveillance program for white-tailed deer. The commission also received another comment from an individual in Medina County who indicated that "I am against the mandatory testing requirement and carcass movement restriction being proposed for Medina, Uvalde, and Bandera counties. Texas Parks and Wildlife have replaced these proposals with voluntary actions and I believe that TAHC should follow their lead. Very little is known about the Elk, Red Deer, and Sika populations in this area, however, two of the CWD index herds have large populations. TAHC should require testing in these herds before they risk reducing land values in this area. Thanks for your consideration."

The commission appreciates the desire to promote voluntary compliance, but believes that in order to ensure that adequate surveillance testing is done within these zones, it is most effective to maintain the testing as a mandatory requirement. The commission believes that by adopting a requirement for this testing, it will help show the value, importance, and need the commission places on having adequate surveillance testing. Also, it provides a clear message as a requirement to get owners of susceptible species to do the right thing by testing these animals. The commission believes it is necessary to adopt these mandatory requirements, but will delay the effective date of the mandatory surveillance zone for Medina County until March 1, 2017. This will allow the current hunting season to be handled as a voluntary effort and allow the commission the opportunity to determine if there is a need to modify or rescind this requirement at a future date after the surveillance testing numbers are obtained.

Also, both associations indicated that they believe the producer should have the ability to utilize a USDA 840 series microchip in place of the visible identification device, as currently allowed in the identification of white-tailed deer. The commission believes that official visible identification for released animals is critical to the success of this surveillance program. It allows someone who has hunter harvested the animal to effectively determine identification for any traceability in the event of a positive test disclosure. A microchip is not apparent to some who harvest this type of animal, nor can it easily be ascertained without a reader. Also, these type of devices could migrate from the location where it is implanted. As such, the commission is not changing the proposal to include those devices as being official for the purpose of this program.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The new section and amendments are adopted under the following statutory authority as found in Chapter 161 of the Texas Agriculture Code. The commission is vested by statute, §161.041(a), with the requirement to protect all livestock, domestic animals, and domestic fowl from disease. The commission is authorized, through §161.041(b), to act to eradicate or control any disease or agent of transmission for any disease that affects livestock.

Pursuant to §161.005, entitled "Commission Written Instruments", the commission may authorize the executive director or another employee to sign written instruments on behalf of the commission. A written instrument, including a quarantine or written notice signed under that authority, has the same force and effect as if signed by the entire commission.

Pursuant to §161.006, entitled "Documents to Accompany Shipment", if required that a certificate or permit accompany animals or commodities moved in this state, the document must be in the possession of the person in charge of the animals or commodities, if the movement is made by any other means.

Pursuant to §161.0415, entitled "Disposal of Diseased or Exposed Livestock", the commission by order may require the slaughter of livestock, under the direction of the commission, or the sale of livestock for immediate slaughter.

Pursuant to §161.0417, entitled "Authorized Personnel for Disease Control", a person, including a veterinarian, must be authorized by the commission in order to engage in an activity that is part of a state or federal disease control or eradication program for animals. Section 161.0417 requires the commission to adopt necessary rules for the authorization of such persons and, after reasonable notice, to suspend or revoke a person's authorization if the commission determines that the person has substantially failed to comply with Chapter 161 or rules adopted under that chapter. Section 161.0417 does not affect the requirement for a license or an exemption under Chapter 801, Occupations Code, to practice veterinary medicine.

Pursuant to §161.046, entitled "Rules", the commission may adopt rules as necessary for the administration and enforcement of this chapter.

Pursuant to §161.048, entitled "Inspection of Shipment of Animals or Animal Products", the commission may require testing, vaccination, or another epidemiologically sound procedure before or after animals are moved. An agent of the commission is entitled to stop and inspect a shipment of animals or animal products being transported in this state in order to determine if the shipment originated from a quarantined area or herd; or determine if the shipment presents a danger to the public health or livestock industry through insect infestation or through a communicable or noncommunicable disease.

Pursuant to §161.049, entitled "Dealer Records", the commission may require a livestock, exotic livestock, domestic fowl, or exotic fowl dealer to maintain records of all livestock, exotic livestock, domestic fowl, or exotic fowl bought and sold by the dealer.

Pursuant to §161.054, entitled "Regulation of Movement of Animals", the commission, by rule, may regulate the movement of animals. The commission may restrict the intrastate movement of animals even though the movement of the animals is unrestricted in interstate or international commerce.

Pursuant to §161.0541, entitled "Elk Disease Surveillance Program", the commission by rule may establish a disease surveillance program for elk.

Pursuant to §161.0545, entitled "Movement of Animal Products", the commission may adopt rules that require the certification of persons who transport or dispose of inedible animal products, including carcasses, body parts, and waste material. The commission by rule may provide terms and conditions for the issuance, renewal, and revocation of a certification under this section.

Pursuant to §161.055, entitled "Slaughter Plant Collection", the commission may require slaughter plants to collect and submit blood samples and other diagnostic specimens for testing for disease.

Pursuant to §161.056(a), entitled "Animal Identification Program", the commission, in order to provide for disease control and enhance the ability to trace disease-infected animals or animals that have been exposed to disease, may develop and implement an animal identification program that is no more stringent than a federal animal disease traceability or other federal animal identification program. Section 161.056(d) authorizes the commission to by a two-thirds vote adopt rules to provide for an animal identification program more stringent than a federal program only for control of a specific animal disease or for animal emergency management.

Pursuant to §161.057, entitled "Classification of Areas", the commission by rule may prescribe criteria for classifying areas in the state for disease control. The criteria must be based on sound epidemiological principles. The commission may prescribe different control measures and procedures for areas with different classifications.

Pursuant to §161.061, entitled "Establishment", if the commission determines that a disease listed in §161.041 of this code or an agency of transmission of one of those diseases exists in a place in this state or among livestock, exotic livestock, domestic animals, domestic fowl, or exotic fowl, or that a place in this state or livestock, exotic livestock, domestic animals, domestic fowl, or exotic fowl are exposed to one of those diseases or an agency of transmission of one of those diseases.

Pursuant to §161.101, entitled "Duty to Report", a veterinarian, a veterinary diagnostic laboratory, or a person having care, custody, or control of an animal shall report the existence of the diseases, if required by the commission, among livestock, exotic livestock, bison, domestic fowl, or exotic fowl to the commission within 24 hours after diagnosis of the disease.

§40.4.Entry Requirements.

(a) The entry requirements are located in Chapter 51, §51.10 of this title (relating to Cervidae).

(b) CWD Susceptible Species Carcass Movement Restrictions for Entering the State. No person may:

(1) Transport into this state or possess any part of a susceptible species from a state, Canadian province, or other place outside of Texas where CWD has been detected in free-ranging or captive herds, except as provided in this section.

(2) Subsection (b)(1) of this section does not apply to susceptible species processed in accordance with this section as follows:

(A) meat that has been cut up and packaged (boned or filleted);

(B) a carcass that has been reduced to quarters with no brain or spinal tissue present;

(C) a cleaned hide (skull and soft tissue must not be attached or present);

(D) a whole skull (or skull plate) with antlers attached, provided the skull plate has been completely cleaned of all soft tissue;

(E) finished taxidermy products;

(F) cleaned teeth; or

(G) tissue prepared and packaged for delivery to and use by a diagnostic or research laboratory.

(c) The skinned or unskinned head of a susceptible species from a state, Canadian province, or other place outside of Texas may be transported to a taxidermist for taxidermy purposes, provided all brain material, soft tissue, spinal column and any unused portions of the head are disposed of in a landfill in Texas permitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

§40.6.CWD Movement Restriction Zones.

(a) Definitions:

(1) Check Station--Department established mandatory check stations in any CZ or SZ or any portion of a CZ or SZ for the purpose of collecting biological information on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) susceptible species taken within a CZ or SZ.

(2) CWD Containment Zone (CZ)--A geographic area which would include a known affected area or a (quarantined) premises under a herd plan because a positive result was obtained in a CWD susceptible species or an area within Texas where CWD has been detected or where there is a high risk of CWD existing or where the commission has determined may exist.

(3) CWD Surveillance Zone (SZ)--A geographic area in the state which the commission has determined or where there is a risk of CWD existing and surveillance is necessary.

(4) CWD Non-Native Susceptible Species--A non-native cervid species which includes North American elk or wapiti (Cervus Canadensis), red deer (Cervus elaphus), Sika deer (Cervus Nippon), moose (Alces alces), and any associated subspecies and hybrids.

(5) CWD Native Susceptible Species--All mule deer, white-tailed deer, and native species under the jurisdiction of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are excluded from this definition and application of this section.

(6) Department--Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

(7) High fence premises--A premises enclosed on all sides by a fence adequate to prevent the ingress or egress of all non-native CWD susceptible species.

(8) Unnatural Movement--Any artificially induced movement of a live susceptible species or the carcass of a susceptible species.

(b) Declaration of area restricted for CWD. CWD has been detected in susceptible species in different locations in Texas. This creates a high risk for CWD exposure or infection in susceptible species in these geographic areas. In order to protect other areas of the state from the risk of exposure and spread of CWD, restricted areas are created to protect against the spread of and exposure to CWD and have necessary surveillance to epidemiologically assess the risk. The high risk areas are delineated as follows:

(1) Containment Zone Boundaries:

(A) Containment Zone 1. That portion of the state within the boundaries of a line beginning in Culberson County where U.S. Highway (U.S.) 62-180 enters from the State of New Mexico; thence southwest along U.S. 62-180 to Farm-to-Market Road (F.M.) 1111 in Hudspeth County; thence south on F.M. 1111 to I.H. 10 thence west along I.H. 10 to S.H. 20; thence northwest along S.H. 20 to F.M. 1088; thence south along F.M. 1088 to the Rio Grande River; thence northwest along the Rio Grande River to the Texas-New Mexico border.

(B) Containment Zone 2. That portion of the state within the boundaries of a line beginning where I.H. 40 enters from the State of New Mexico in Deaf Smith County; thence east along I.H. 40 to U.S. 385 in Oldham County; thence north along U.S. 385 to the Oklahoma state line.

(C) Containment Zone 3. Boundaries consist of properties under the same ownership or management for facilities operating under a herd plan due to a positive result in a CWD susceptible species in Medina and Uvalde counties.

(2) Surveillance Zone Boundaries:

(A) Surveillance Zone 1. That portion of the state within the boundaries of a line beginning where U.S. 285 enters from the State of New Mexico in Reeves County; thence southeast along U.S. 285 to R.M. 652; thence west along R.M. 652 to Rustler Springs Rd./FM 3541 in Culberson County; thence south along Rustler Springs Rd./F.M. 3541 to F.M. 2185; thence south along F.M. 2185 to Nevel Road; thence west along Nevel Road to County Road 501; thence south along County Road 501 to Weatherby Road; thence south along Weatherby Road to F.M. 2185; thence southwest along F.M. 2185 to S.H. 54; thence south on S.H. 54 to U.S. 90; thence south along U.S. 90 to the Culberson County line; thence southwest along the Culberson County line to the Rio Grande River in Hudspeth County; thence north along the Rio Grande River to F.M. 1088; thence northeast along F.M. 1088 to S.H. 20; thence southeast along S.H. 20 to I.H. 10; thence southeast along I.H. 10 to F.M. 1111; thence north on F.M. 1111 to U.S. 62/180; thence east and north along U.S. 62/180 to the New Mexico state line in Culberson County.

(B) Surveillance Zone 2. That portion of the state within the boundaries of a line beginning at the New Mexico state line where U.S. 60 enters Texas; thence northeast along U.S. 60 to U.S. 87 in Randall County; thence north along U.S. 87 to I.H. 27; thence north along U.S. 87/I.H. 27 to U.S. 287 in Moore County; thence north along U.S. 287 to the Oklahoma state line.

(C) Surveillance Zone 3. That portion of the state within the boundaries of a line beginning at U.S. 90 in Hondo in Medina County; thence west along U.S. 90 to F.M. 187 in Uvalde County; thence north along F.M. 187 to F.M. 470 in Bandera County; thence east along F.M. 470 to Tarpley in Bandera County; thence south along F.M. 462 to U.S. 90 in Hondo.

(c) Containment Zone Requirements:

(1) Movement. No non-native CWD susceptible species may be transported outside the CZ unless from a herd with a certified status as established through §40.3(c)(6) (relating to Herd Status Plans for Cervidae) of this chapter.

(2) Released Animals. No non-native CWD susceptible species may be released within the CZ outside a high fence premises.

(3) Testing. All non-native CWD susceptible species, 16 months of age or older, that are hunter harvested shall be tested for CWD. No part of a carcass of a susceptible species, either killed or found dead may be removed from the CZ unless a testable CWD sample from the carcass is collected and tested. The results shall be provided to the commission or the Department within 30 days of receiving the test results.

(4) Carcass Movement Restrictions. No part of a carcass of a susceptible species, either killed or found dead, within the CZ may be removed from the CZ unless it is in accordance with the requirements of §40.6 (g) of this section.

(5) Escaped Animals. Any escaped non-native CWD susceptible species which originated or resided in a CZ shall be captured and returned to the high fence premises of origin.

(6) Herd Plans. Facilities and associated properties in the CZ that have been issued a herd plan shall operate in accordance to the herd plan requirements as determined by the commission.

(7) Identification. All non-native CWD susceptible species released in a CZ shall be identified with a visible official identification device, which may include an eartag that conforms to the USDA alphanumeric national uniform ear tagging system and/or an animal identification number (AIN) and may include a RFID device. If a susceptible species is released into a high fence premises, the animal shall retain the acceptable official identification.

(d) Surveillance Zone Requirements:

(1) Movement. Prior to the movement of a non-native CWD susceptible species outside an SZ or from one premises in the SZ to another premises within the SZ, the premises of origin shall have an epidemiological risk assessment conducted by the commission.

(2) Released Animals. No non-native CWD susceptible species may be released within the SZ outside a high fence premises.

(3) Testing. All non-native CWD susceptible species, 16 months of age or older, that are hunter harvested shall be tested for CWD. No part of a carcass of a susceptible species, either killed or found dead may be removed from the SZ unless a testable CWD sample from the carcass is collected and tested. The results shall be provided to the commission or the Department within 30 days of receiving the test results.

(4) Carcass Movement Restrictions. No part of a carcass of a susceptible species, either killed or found dead, within the SZ may be removed from the SZ unless it is in accordance with the requirements of §40.6(e) of this section.

(5) Escaped Animals. Any escaped non-native CWD susceptible species which originated or resided in an SZ shall be captured and returned to the high fence premises of origin.

(6) Herd Plans. Facilities and associated properties in the SZ that have been issued a herd plan shall operate in accordance with the herd plan requirements as determined by the commission.

(7) Identification. All non-native CWD susceptible species released in an SZ shall be identified with a visible official identification device, which may include an eartag that conforms to the USDA alphanumeric national uniform ear tagging system and/or an animal identification number (AIN), which may include a RFID device. If a susceptible species is released into a high fence premises, the animal shall retain the acceptable official identification.

(e) Carcass Movement Restrictions:

(1) No person shall transport or cause the transport of any part of a susceptible species from a property within a CZ or SZ unless:

(A) meat has been cut up and packaged (boned or filleted);

(B) a carcass has been reduced to quarters with no brain or spinal tissue present;

(C) a cleaned hide (skull and soft tissue must not be attached or present);

(D) a whole skull (or skull plate) with antlers attached, provided the skull plate has been completely cleaned of all soft tissue;

(E) finished taxidermy products;

(F) cleaned teeth; or

(G) tissue prepared and packaged for delivery to and use by a diagnostic or research laboratory with results accessible to the commission.

(2) A susceptible species harvested in a CZ or SZ may be transported from the CZ or SZ, provided it is accompanied by a Department-issued check-station receipt, which is required during the operation of the mandatory Department check-stations in the CZ or SZ, and that receipt shall remain with the susceptible species until it reaches the possessor's permanent residence. The skinned or unskinned head of a susceptible species from a CZ or SZ may be transported to a taxidermist for taxidermy purposes, provided all brain material, soft tissue, spinal column, and any unused portions of the head are disposed of by the taxidermist in a landfill in Texas permitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

(f) The Executive Director may authorize movement. If movement is necessary or desirable to promote the objectives of this chapter and/or to minimize the economic impact of the restricted susceptible species without endangering those objectives or the health and safety of other susceptible species within the state, the Executive Director may authorize movement in a manner that creates minimal risk to the other susceptible animals in the state.

(g) Commission staff shall annually review the movement restrictions zones and make recommendations to the commission on whether the zones should be modified or rescinded.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on December 13, 2016.

TRD-201606570

Gene Snelson

General Counsel

Texas Animal Health Commission

Effective date: January 2, 2017

Proposal publication date: September 9, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 719-0722


4 TAC §40.6

The Texas Animal Health Commission (commission) adopts the repeal of §40.6, concerning CWD Movement Restriction Zone, without changes to the proposed text as published in the September 9, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 6845). The text of the rule will not be republished.

Elsewhere in this issue of the Texas Register, the commission adopts new §40.6, concerning CWD Movement Restriction Zones, which replaces the repealed section in its entirety.

No comments were received regarding the proposal.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The repeal is authorized by the Texas Agriculture Code §161.046, which provides the commission with authority to adopt rules relating to the protection of livestock, exotic livestock, domestic fowl or exotic fowl, as well as Texas Government Code §2001.039, which authorizes a state agency to repeal a rule.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on December 13, 2016.

TRD-201606568

Gene Snelson

General Counsel

Texas Animal Health Commission

Effective date: January 2, 2017

Proposal publication date: September 9, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 719-0722