TITLE 4. AGRICULTURE

PART 2. TEXAS ANIMAL HEALTH COMMISSION

CHAPTER 40. CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE

4 TAC §40.5

The Texas Animal Health Commission (commission) adopts amendments to §40.5, concerning Surveillance and Movement Requirements for Exotic CWD Susceptible Species, with changes to the proposed text as published in the December 30, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 10495). In addition, a correction of error was published in the January 20, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 255). The text of the rule will be republished.

The purpose of the amendments is to add surveillance, movement reporting, identification, and mortality recordkeeping requirements.

Chronic Wasting Disease (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 exact mechanism of transmission is unclear; however, evidence suggests CWD is transmitted directly from one animal to another through saliva, feces, and urine containing abnormal prions shed in those body fluids and tissues. Because the disease has a long incubation period, animals infected with CWD may not produce any visible signs of the disease for a number of years after they become infected. The disease can be passed through contaminated environmental conditions and has been known to persist for a long period of time. The "official" 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.

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 24 states, including Texas, and 2 Canadian provinces.

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. The commission and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) created a restricted zone that has required testing of susceptible species in that area and restricted movement of live animals. On June 30, 2015, a 2-year old white-tailed deer in a Medina County breeding facility was confirmed positive for CWD. Through testing requirements associated with tracing of deer either moved from or to this facility, CWD has also been discovered in other white-tailed deer, which includes four other facilities in Medina or Lavaca counties. 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 and borders New Mexico. On December 6, 2016, a free-ranging elk was harvested in Dallam County. Dallam County is also located in the Texas Panhandle and borders New Mexico and Oklahoma.

The commission works in coordination and collaboration with the TPWD to address CWD issues and concerns and to assess and mitigate the risks to the Texas cervid industries. All mule deer, white-tailed deer, and native species are generally 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 individuals to breed, trade, sell, move, release, and hunt 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 which are privately owned. Texas has an unknown number of exotic cervid species that are free-ranging or 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 presence and prevalence in all areas of the state where CWD susceptible species exist. A strong surveillance system also supports Texas' animal industries and their marketability because it provides more assurance and confidence that these animals are healthy.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has federal standards requiring participation in a National CWD Herd Certification Program (HCP) which is designed to be a voluntary federal-state cooperative program implemented by participating states. The HCP's objective is to achieve a national approach that minimizes the risk of spreading CWD in cervid populations through uniform national herd certification standards. States must be approved by USDA to participate and these animals must be in an accepted program for the movement of these species interstate. Texas has an approved HCP program.

Though Texas' white-tailed deer population has had significant historical surveillance, very few elk, red deer or sika herds have participated in the CWD certification program. As such, the commission has limited CWD surveillance testing for these cervid species as a result of this program.

In 2009, legislation was passed that authorized the commission to establish a disease surveillance program for elk. This authority is found in §161.0541 of the Texas Agriculture Code. Under this statute, the commission may require each person who moves elk in this state to have elk participate in a disease surveillance program.

Pursuant to this legislation, the commission adopted rules that require elk to participate in a CWD surveillance program in 2010, however, the rules were held in abeyance until 2012 to encourage voluntary participation. Elk producers wishing to sell or move elk are required to either enroll in a CWD herd monitoring programs or have 20% of their mortalities tested to quality animals for movement. This program is found in Title 4, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 40, §40.5. The commission received a total of 243 CWD tests results for elk and red deer from 2003 to September of 2016.

The detection of CWD in different locations in Texas creates a risk for CWD exposure or infection to other susceptible species throughout the state. The commission believes it is necessary to conduct enhanced surveillance of Exotic CWD Susceptible Species to protect against the spread of CWD. Without adequate and equitable testing throughout Texas, the risk only increases for spreading CWD in the state, This only poses a greater disease risk to the cervid industries, as well as creates greater opportunity for negative economic impact for those industries.

The commission has historically used a group of CWD stakeholders to provide guidance, along with recommendations to the commission staff regarding the CWD program and improving surveillance in the exotic CWD susceptible species. These stakeholders include members of USDA, TPWD, Texas Deer Association, Exotic Wildlife Association, Deer Breeder Corporation, Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, Texas Southwest Cattle Feeders, Texas Veterinary Medical Association, AgriLife, along with noted private veterinary practitioners and wildlife biologists. The group discussed the need to modify the intrastate program for the Exotic CWD Susceptible Species to make it a more successful surveillance program.

The Exotic Wildlife Association submitted comments that indicated they were in support of the requirements as proposed and urged adoption. They stated that they wanted to ensure there is minimal risk for CWD in both farmed and wild cervid populations and believes the rules protect not only animal health but also does not stifle commerce within the industry.

The Texas Wildlife Association also submitted comments that indicated that they see the merit in simplicity and believes the proposed "first three" mortality testing requirement is sufficient for the majority of properties with these species in Texas. However, they believe the rules can and should go further when dealing with operations that create a higher risk profile for disease transmission (i.e. breeding facilities, large populations, prolific traders, etc.) and urged the commission to act with more urgency on implementing such rules as meaningful sample collections are pushed to the fall of 2017 when regular hunting season begins. They believe the commission should strive for as much surveillance as possible, as soon as possible.

The North American Elk Breeders Association submitted comments that they have thoroughly reviewed the proposal and recognize the program is being focused on ensuring minimal risk for CWD in farmed and wild animals. They agree that three CWD samples annually will produce more surveillance in the state and the intrastate movement requirement mirrors examples of programs in other states.

Another commenter indicated that this requirement would be an unfair and burdensome to only the high fence property owners. In the Texas hill country large herds of exotics are located on low fence properties. It would be scientifically incorrect to have only high fence ranches that have just a few sika be subject to these requirements while the low fence neighbor with large number sika be exempt. If TAHC is going to implement these new requirements then it should be for everyone not just high fence ranches. This would help avoid any litigation concerning discriminatory practices toward high fence landowners. The commenter also proposed that all existing exotic CWD susceptible animals be exempt if the ranch is not selling live animals because it is impossible to know how many exotic animals are on ranches that are very large and have extremely thick brush, cedar and rugged terrain. This would put an undue burden on these ranches and could subject the land owner to violations not knowing what exotic animals that were naturally born or came onto the property via a hole in fence caused by hogs or downed trees. I however would support the testing of CWD susceptible animals that are being moved. Requiring a transfer document similar to that used for whitetail deer. The seller must have tested 20% or a set number of animals per year to maintain status. The broker/buyer must also be registered and commit to purchasing only animals from herds that have status.

The commission appreciates the comments, but believes that the commenter has misconstrued some of the requirements. The surveillance requirement applies to all locations (high fence or low fence) where there is a mortality of an exotic susceptible species. The purpose is to get greater test surveillance for this disease and is applied to all locations. The commenter also seems to believe the requirement should only be triggered by locations from which artificial movement occurs. The previous rule used that as the surveillance requirement and is being changed because they was not sufficient surveillance. The rule currently being considered now will no longer apply any test requirements to the movement, but does provide do movement documentation requirements so as to have greater traceability for any disease response.

The commission also received a comment regarding clarity in application of the requirements. The commenter indicated that "[t]he proposed wording is a bit muddled, ESPECIALLY since 40.5 has only dealt with LIVE TRANSPORT -- up until now. I feel strongly that a few simple changes or additions to proposed wording will GREATLY help in clearing up true INTENT for premise owners who might easily wonder (like me) what applies to them or not. For example, it's current wording stating "the person controlling the CWD susceptible species..." is absolutely NOT defined in 40.5 and they suggested the re-wording of Eligible Mortality and Surveillance Requirements. It was suggested that eligible mortality be clarified to indicate that it applies to any eligible animal on any and all premises which raise and/or contain any Exotic CWD Susceptible Species, whether a premise engages in live transport of these animals or not. Such deaths include hunter harvest or herd culling.

It was also suggested that Surveillance Requirements be clarified to apply whether live CWD-species transport movement is involved or not. The first three eligible mortalities of each calendar year shall be tested for CWD with three valid test results obtained. For example, depending on the premise's eligible mortality rates each year during a contiguous four year period, then there exists the potential for as little as zero up to a maximum of 12 total CWD successful tests required. The owner of the premises shall ensure that the CWD samples are properly collected and submitted in compliance with the collections requirements. The owner must report the test results to the commission within 30 days of receiving the test results.

The commission agrees that the suggested wording does provide greater clarity and makes those changes for the adopted version.

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 §161.0415, 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, the commission shall establish a quarantine on the affected animals or on the affected place.

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.

§40.5.Surveillance and Movement Requirements for Exotic CWD Susceptible Species.

(a) Definitions:

(1) Eligible Mortality--The death from any cause of an Exotic CWD Susceptible Species that is 16 months of age or older on any and all premises which raise and/or contain any Exotic CWD Susceptible Species, whether a premises engages in live transport of these animals or not. This includes hunter harvest or herd culling on the premises, natural mortalities on the premises, or animals moved directly to slaughter.

(2) Exotic CWD Susceptible Species--A non-native cervid species determined to be susceptible to CWD, which means a species that has had a diagnosis of CWD confirmed by means of an official test conducted by a laboratory approved by USDA/APHIS. This 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. All mule deer, white-tailed deer, and other native species under the jurisdiction of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are excluded from this definition and application of this section.

(3) Premises--A physical location(s) which is contiguous, that is under common ownership or management, and represents a unique and describable geographic location.

(4) Transport--Movement of an Exotic CWD Susceptible Species from one non-contiguous property or premises to another.

(b) Surveillance Requirements. Each calendar year, the owner of a premises shall have all eligible mortalities CWD tested until such time that three animals are tested and valid test results are obtained. The owner of the premises shall ensure that the CWD samples are properly collected and submitted in compliance with the collections requirements. The owner must report the test results to the commission within 30 days of receiving the test results. This requirement applies to any premises where these species are located and is not dependent on the live movement of any of these species.

(c) Movement Reporting and Identification Requirements.

(1) Live Exotic CWD Susceptible Species moved or transported within the state shall be identified with an official identification device, which may include an eartag that conforms to the USDA alphanumeric national uniform ear tagging system (NUES), is a visible and legible animal identification number (AIN) or other identification methods approved by the commission, including a RFID device.

(2) In order to move live Exotic CWD Susceptible Species to or from a premises, the owner must obtain a Premises Identification Number (PIN). A PIN means a unique official seven character alphanumeric identification code issued under this chapter to identify a specific and unique premises.

(3) An owner of a premises where Exotic CWD Susceptible Species are located within a high fence shall keep herd records that include an annual inventory and mortality log for all Exotic CWD Susceptible Species. The inventory shall be submitted to the commission on or before April 1 of each year.

(4) A complete movement record for all live Exotic CWD Susceptible Species that are moved onto or off of a premises shall be submitted to the commission, either in hard or electronic copy on forms provided or authorized by the commission. The person moving the Exotic CWD Susceptible Species must have documentation with the Exotic CWD Susceptible Species being moved to show compliance with the requirements of this subsection. A copy of this documentation must be provided to any market selling these species. Such record shall be submitted within 48 hours of the movement. Movement reporting shall be directed to the commission by either writing to Texas Animal Health Commission, CWD Susceptible Species Reporting, P.O. Box 12966, Austin, Texas 78711-2966; or by fax to (512) 719-0729; or by email to CWD_reports@tahc.texas.gov.

(d) Testing Requirements. CWD test samples shall be collected and submitted to an official laboratory for CWD diagnosis using a USDA validated test for all eligible mortalities. Test reporting shall be directed to the appropriate commission region office. The samples may be collected by a state or federal animal health official, an accredited veterinarian, or a Certified CWD Postmortem Sample Collector. Tissue samples shall be the obex and a retropharyngeal lymph node from each animal tested eligible mortality.

(e) Test Result Reporting. The owner shall report all test results to the commission within 30 days of receiving the test results by either writing to Texas Animal Health Commission, CWD Susceptible Species Reporting, P.O. Box 12966, Austin, Texas 78711-2966; or by fax to (512) 719-0729; or by email to CWD_reports@tahc.texas.gov.

(f) Mortality Record Keeping.

(1) The owner of a premises where an Exotic CWD Susceptible Species eligible mortality occurs shall maintain the following mortality records:

(A) the date the Exotic CWD Susceptible Species dies or was harvested;

(B) the species, age, and sex of the animal;

(C) any RFID or NUES tag number affixed to the animal; and

(D) any other identification number, official or unofficial, on the animal.

(2) The mortality records shall be made available upon request to any commission employee acting in the performance of official duties.

(3) The mortality records shall be submitted to the commission on or before April 1 of each year either by writing to Texas Animal Health Commission, CWD Susceptible Species Reporting, P.O. Box 12966, Austin, Texas 78711-2966; or by fax to (512) 719-0729; or by email to CWD_reports@tahc.texas.gov.

(4) he mortality record shall be on a form provided or approved by the commission and shall be retained for a period of one year following submission to the commission.

(g) Inspection. In order to ensure compliance with these rules, a premises where Exotic CWD Susceptible Species are located may be inspected by the commission or authorized agents of the commission.

(h) Dealer Requirements. A dealer is a person engaged in the business of buying or selling Exotic CWD Susceptible Species in commerce on the person's own account, as an employee or agent of a vendor, purchaser, or both, or on a commission basis. To maintain separate herd status for the animals a dealer sells, a dealer shall maintain separate herd facilities and separate water sources; there shall be at least 30 feet between the perimeter fencing around separate herds; and no commingling of animals may occur. Movement of animals between herds must be recorded as if they were separately owned herds. A dealer shall maintain records for all Exotic CWD Susceptible Species transported within the state or where there is a transfer of ownership, and provide these to commission personnel upon request. Records required to be kept under the provisions of this section shall be maintained for not less than five years and shall include the following information:

(1) Owner's name;

(2) Location where the animal was sold or purchased;

(3) Official ID and/or Ranch tag (additional field for retag);

(4) Gender and age of animal;

(5) Source of animal (if purchased addition);

(6) Movement to other premises; and

(7) Disposition of the animal.

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 May 10, 2017.

TRD-201701932

Gene Snelson

General Counsel

Texas Animal Health Commission

Effective date: May 30, 2017

Proposal publication date: December 30, 2016

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


CHAPTER 41. FEVER TICKS

4 TAC §41.8

The Texas Animal Health Commission (commission) adopts amendments to §41.8, concerning Dipping, Treatment, and Vaccination of Animals, with changes to the proposed text as published in the December 30, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 10500). The text of the rule will be republished.

The purpose of the amendments to §41.8 is to provide the Designated Fever Tick Epidemiologist, with the approval of the Executive Director, the discretion to approve inspections, dipping, treatments and/or vaccination requirements that are less stringent than those currently prescribed, taking into consideration the circumstances of the affected producer, and the commission's overarching goal to encourage producers to maintain cattle on affected premises. With routine inspections and treatment, cattle maintained on or near premises have significant value to the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program (CFTEP) by serving as sentinel animals, and if found, control agents of the fever tick.

The purpose of the CFTEP is to eradicate fever ticks through the management of a permanent quarantine zone, as well as through temporary quarantine areas, created to address the presence of ticks outside the permanent zone.

Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) provided comments which indicated that cattle fever ticks pose a significant cattle health threat to the United States and could have detrimental effects on the cattle market and trade if not controlled. These factors make the ability of the commission to effectively eradicate cattle fever ticks from the U.S. of utmost importance to our industry. TSCRA strongly supports the efforts of the commission in their surveillance, control, testing, and treatment of any livestock and/or wildlife that may serve as a host for cattle fever ticks, while recognizing the importance of cattle production in all quarantine zones. TSCRA strongly supports the commission's proposed amendment to §41.8 of the Texas Administrative Code.

Texas Cattle Feeders also has the same concerns for the threat that fever ticks pose the cattle industry and strongly supports the purpose of the amendment to provide the DFTE, with the approval of the Executive Director, the discretion in addressing these problems.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The amendments are adopted under the following statutory authority as found in Chapters 161 and 167 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 §161.007, entitled "Exposure or Infection Considered Continuing", if a veterinarian employed by the commission determines that a communicable disease exists among livestock, domestic animals, or domestic fowl or on certain premises or that livestock, domestic animals, or domestic fowl have been exposed to the agency of transmission of a communicable disease, the exposure or infection is considered to continue until the commission determines that the exposure or infection has been eradicated through methods prescribed by rule of the commission.

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 §161.054, 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 §161.057, 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, the commission shall establish a quarantine on the affected animals or on the affected place.

Pursuant to §161.081, entitled "Importation of Animals", the commission by rule may regulate the movement, including movement by a railroad company or other common carrier, of livestock, exotic livestock, domestic animals, domestic fowl, or exotic fowl into this state from another state, territory, or country.

Pursuant to §167.003, entitled "General Powers and Duties of the Commission", the commission shall eradicate all ticks capable of carrying Babesia in this state and shall protect all land, premises, and livestock in this state from those ticks and exposure to those ticks. In carrying out this chapter, the commission may adopt necessary rule.

Pursuant to §167.004, entitled "Classification of Animals or Premises as Infested, Exposed or Free from Exposure", the commission by rule shall define what animals and premises are to be classified as exposed to ticks. The commission shall classify as exposed to ticks livestock that have been on land or in an enclosure that the commission determines to be tick infested or exposed to ticks or to have been tick infested or exposed to ticks before or after the removal of the livestock, unless the commission determines that the infestation or exposure occurred after the livestock were removed and that the livestock did not become infested or exposed before removal.

§41.8.Dipping, Treatment, and Vaccination of Animals.

Unless otherwise determined by the DFTE and approved by the Executive Director, the following requirements shall apply:

(1) General Requirements:

(A) All scratch inspections, dipping, treatment, and vaccination prescribed in this section must be done under the supervision of a representative authorized by the commission.

(B) All scratch inspections, dipping, treatment, or vaccination must be done under instructions issued by the commission. All requirements will be in written form directed to the owner or caretaker. An inspector for the commission will deliver the instructions in person along with a copy of these regulations. All premises boundaries will be listed in the instructions.

(C) The owner or caretaker of livestock on infested and exposed premises must comply with the TAHC approved Quarantine Schedule as follows:

(i) The starting date for infested premises for Table I (Pasture Treatment or Vacation Schedule, South of Highway 90) and Table II (Pasture Treatment or Vacation Schedule, North of Highway 90), is the date of the first clean dipping of 100% of the livestock.

(ii) The starting date for exposed premises for Table I and Table II is when 100% of the livestock on the premises have been dipped.

(iii) Copies of Table I (Pasture Treatment or Vacation Schedule, South of Highway 90) and Table II (Pasture Treatment or Vacation Schedule, North of Highway 90) may be obtained from the Texas Animal Health Commission, P.O. Box 12966, Austin, Texas 78711-2966.

Figure: 4 TAC §41.8(1)(C)(iii) (.pdf)

(D) The owner or caretakers must gather and present all livestock for scratch inspection, dipping, treatment or vaccination required by the commission. The owner or caretaker is responsible for all costs associated with and labor necessary for presenting the owner or caretaker's cattle for scratch inspection, dipping, treatment, or vaccination at the location prescribed by the commission.

(2) Requirements for Dipping, Treatment, or Vaccination:

(A) Dipping Requirements:

(i) The owner or caretaker of livestock on infested or exposed premises must present the livestock to be scratch inspected and dipped with subsequent dipping every seven to 14 days until the livestock are moved from the premises in accordance with these regulations, except as provided in subsection (1)(C) of this section.

(ii) The 14-day interval may be extended due to circumstances beyond the control of the owner upon approval by an authorized representative of the commission. In no event will the extension be more than three days. If the extension is granted, no certificate for movement will be issued after the 14th day, and the next dip must be on the original 14-day schedule.

(iii) The scratch inspection and first dip must be within 14 days from the date infestation or exposure is discovered unless otherwise approved by the commission.

(iv) A dip is not official unless 100% of the livestock within the premises affected are dipped on schedule.

(v) The commission will authorize for use in dipping only those dips that have been approved by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture and the commission for use in official dipping to rid animals of the tick.

(vi) The concentration of the dipping chemical used must be maintained in the percentage specified for official use by means of the approved vat management techniques established for the use of the agent; or, if applicable, by an officially approved vat side test or field test of the commission.

(vii) If the commission requires livestock to be dipped, the livestock shall be submerged in a vat. A spray-dip machine may be used in areas where a vat is not reasonably available.

(viii) Careful hand spraying may be used for easily restrained horses and show cattle, and when specifically authorized by a commission representative, certain zoo or domestic animals.

(ix) Livestock unable to go through a dipping vat because of size or physical condition, as determined by a commission representative, may be hand sprayed.

(x) The dip treatment must be paint marked on the animals so that it can be identified for as treated for at least 17 days after the treatment.

(B) Authorized Treatment Requirements:

(i) Following the first clean dipping of 100% of the livestock, the cattle may be treated with injectable doramectin in lieu of systematic dipping. The owner or caretaker of cattle on an infested or exposed premises must present the livestock to be scratch inspected and treated with injectable doramectin every 25-28 days until the livestock are moved from the premises in accordance with these regulations, except as provided in subsection (1)(C) of this section.

(ii) Treatment of doramectin shall by administered by subcutaneous injection by a representative of the commission.

(iii) The owner or caretaker must comply with the slaughter withholding period (35 days) of doramectin by holding cattle at the premises of origin until the withdrawal period is completed.

(iv) Treatment is not official unless 100% of the livestock within the premises affected are treated on schedule.

(v) Free-ranging wildlife or exotic livestock that are found on infested or exposed premises, and which are capable of hosting fever ticks will be treated by methods approved by the commission and for the length of time specified by the commission.

(I) Ivermectin medicated corn may be administered to free-ranging wildlife or exotic livestock by a representative of the commission following the close of the hunting season, provided that treatment is terminated at least 60 days prior to the beginning of the next hunting season to comply with the required withdrawal period.

(II) Permethrin impregnated roller devices may be used for topical treatment of free-ranging wildlife or exotic livestock during periods when ivermectin medicated corn is not administered. The commission may specify the use of other pesticides for treatment of wildlife or exotic livestock when deemed necessary to control and eradicate fever ticks.

(C) Vaccination Requirements:

(i) The fever tick vaccine shall be administered by employees or authorized agents of the USDA/APHIS/Veterinary Services or the commission.

(ii) The owner or caretaker must comply with the 60 day slaughter withholding period, or other slaughter withholding timeframe as specified by the label. The owner or caretaker must hold vaccinated cattle at the premises of origin until the withdrawal period is completed.

(iii) In addition to any dipping or treatment required by this section, beef cattle two months of age or older located within the tick eradication quarantine area shall be vaccinated with the fever tick vaccine at intervals prescribed by the commission. The vaccine must be administered when cattle are gathered and presented for annual inspection as required by §41.9 of this chapter (relating to Vacation and Inspection of a Premise) and at other times specified by the commission.

(iv) In addition to any dipping or treatment required by this section, the commission may require fever tick vaccination of beef cattle two months of age and older located within the temporary preventative quarantine area, control purpose quarantine area or other beef cattle or premises epidemiologically determined by the commission to be at an increased risk for fever ticks. The cattle shall be vaccinated at intervals prescribed by the commission.

(3) Herd Plan and Protest. Each premises within a tick eradication quarantine area, temporary preventative quarantine area, or control purpose quarantine area will be classified by the commission as an infested, exposed, adjacent, or check premises and is required to execute a herd management plan and remain under restrictions until no evidence of fever ticks is disclosed or a complete epidemiologic investigation fails to disclose evidence of exposure to fever ticks, with the concurrence of the DFTE. A person may protest an initial test or a herd plan for each premises classified as increased risk for fever ticks.

(A) To protest, the responsible person must request a meeting, in writing, with the Executive Director of the commission within 15 days of receipt of the herd plan or notice of an initial test and set forth a short, plain statement of the issues that shall be the subject of the protest, after which:

(i) the meeting will be set by the Executive Director no later than 21 days from receipt of the request for a meeting;

(ii) the meeting or meetings shall be held in Austin; and

(iii) the Executive Director shall render his decision in writing within 14 days from date of the meeting.

(B) Upon receipt of a decision or order by the executive director which the herd owner wishes to appeal, the herd owner may file an appeal within 15 days in writing with the Chairman of the commission and set forth a short, plain statement of the issues that shall be the subject of the appeal.

(C) The subsequent hearing will be conducted pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Procedure and Texas Register Act, and Chapter 32 of this title (relating to Hearing and Appeal Procedures).

(D) If the Executive Director determines, based on epidemiological principles, that immediate action is necessary, the Executive Director may shorten the time limits to not less than five days. The herd owner must be provided with written notice of any time limits so shortened.

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 May 10, 2017.

TRD-201701933

Gene Snelson

General Counsel

Texas Animal Health Commission

Effective date: May 30, 2017

Proposal publication date: December 30, 2016

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


CHAPTER 59. GENERAL PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES

4 TAC §59.9, §59.13

The Texas Animal Health Commission (commission) adopts an amendment to §59.9, concerning Historically Underutilized Business Program, and new §59.13, concerning Posting of Certain Contracts; Enhanced Contract Monitoring, with changes to the proposed text of §59.9 as published in the December 30, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 10503). The text of §59.9 will be republished.

The new rule implements procedures for contracts for the purchase of goods or services from private vendors.

The purpose of the amendment to §59.9 is to reference the correct rules relating to the Historically Underutilized Business Program. The new rule is adopted in response to Texas Government Code §2261.253 enacted by the 84th Texas Legislature, which requires each state agency by rule to establish a procedure to identify contracts that require enhanced contract or performance monitoring and prescribes certain reporting requirements.

No comments were received regarding the proposal.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The new rule is adopted under Texas Government Code §2261.253, which requires the commission to adopt and enforce rules to implement procedures for contracts for the purchase of goods or services from private vendors and establish a procedure to identify each contract that requires enhanced contract or performance monitoring and submit information on the contract to the agency's governing body.

Pursuant to §2161.003 of the Texas Government Code, a state agency shall adopt the Comptroller's rules under §2161.002 as the agency's own rules. Those rules apply to the agency's construction projects and purchases of goods and services paid for with appropriated money without regard to whether a project or purchase is otherwise subject to this subtitle.

§59.9.Historically Underutilized Business Program.

The Texas Animal Health Commission adopts by reference the rules of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in 34 TAC Part 1, Chapter 20, Subchapter B (relating to Historically Underutilized Business Program).

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 May 10, 2017.

TRD-201701934

Gene Snelson

General Counsel

Texas Animal Health Commission

Effective date: May 30, 2017

Proposal publication date: December 30, 2016

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