TDA MEMBERSHIP CALL TO ACTION!
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Proposes New Emergency Rules
RE: Interim Chronic Wasting Disease Response Rules
We need your action TODAY! On November 5th, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission will consider formalizing proposed rules governing the movement of breeder deer. Our industry must stand united to ensure the rules set forth by Executive Director Carter Smith on August 18th, 2015, are not adopted as currently proposed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Staff.
It is undeniable that our industry has been negatively impacted by the current TPWD Executive Order and Emergency Rules. These Rules were made and adopted in response to a perceived emergency that simply does not exist. Through the use of the robust and innovative TWIMS system, we have identified, contained, and managed the finding of CWD in the whitetail herd in Texas.
The deer industry in Texas is in dire need of a permitting process that provides regulatory certainty while maintaining a climate conducive to business growth. It is absolutely imperative that our membership speak with one voice concerning the proposed adoption of the Interim Chronic Wasting Disease Response Rules.
ACT TODAY! Please click the link below to express your OPPOSITION to the adoption of the Interim Chronic Wasting Disease Response Rules as developed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff. At the top of the form, you will need to include your name, county of residence, and whether or not you hold a TPWD-issued license. After reviewing the rules proposed, please submit your comments in the space provided at the bottom of the page. The link to ACT TODAY is listed below:
For convenience, we have created a form letter to assist you in expressing your opposition. Please feel free to copy and paste the following into the space provided in the link above. Please add any additional information you see fit. Lastly, we ask that you keep your comments professional and considerate, as they reflect on our industry as a whole.
Should you have any questions about the proposed rule or need assistance in filing your opposition online, please do not hesitate to contact Patrick Tarlton at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 512.217.0456.
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SUBJECT: Interim Chronic Wasting Disease Response Rules
Dear Chairman Friedkin and Commissioners:
I am writing in opposition to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission’s adoption of the Interim Chronic Wasting Disease Response Rules as developed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff.
As you are aware, on August 18, 2015, Executive Director Carter Smith issued an Executive Order and Emergency Rules that changed the testing standards and movement qualifications for breeder deer across the state. These Emergency Rules had a profoundly negative impact on the deer industry in Texas. The Rules have resulted in tens of millions of dollars of economic loss to small businesses across the state, severely diminished a once thriving Texas market, cost hundreds of hard-working Texans their jobs, and spread fear throughout the entire outdoor community.
The Rules were based upon a perceived emergency when CWD was found in the Medina County Index facility. However, through the use of the robust and innovative TWIMS system, we have identified, contained, and managed the finding of CWD in the whitetail herd in Texas. Today, there is no emergency in Texas.
The environment upon the issuance of the Rules in August was dramatically different than it is today. TPWD has a wealth of knowledge we did not have previously. Conclusive test results on the remainder of the index herd came back non-detected. The absence of a single additional positive test result in the remainder of the index herd extremely narrows the impact of CWD on both the wild and captive herds, as well as narrowing the scope of the investigation to find the source. The abundance of non-detected results significantly changes the dynamics of the rules governing our industry moving forward. The results from the Patterson’s herd validate there is no statewide emergency to white-tailed deer. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission should NOT adopt the Emergency Rules considering the evidence before us today.
It is time to reevaluate specific testing requirements in the Emergency Rules. Our industry adamantly adheres to the direct traceability of movement through the TWIMS system. As you know, this system provides the most robust, accurate tracing mechanism for captive deer in the United States. The facts simply do not suggest there is any considerable threat to the captive or wild white-tailed herds, based on ability to trace animals through the TWIMS system. TPWD can immediately identify the facilities directly impacted by the five positives found – and any positives found in future herds.
Taking this into consideration, the Commission has the opportunity to take a renewed look at the testing standards outlined in the previously-issued Emergency Rules. Changes to these standards are absolutely imperative to ensuring a vibrant business climate for the deer industry in Texas, while maintaining adequate disease management across the state. Significant effort should be made to amend the testing and surveillance requirements within the breeding facilities and the release sites to make certain we are balancing private property rights, economic impact, and disease management to maintain a sufficient epidemiologically confidence that CWD has no impact to the Texas deer herd.
We must look at changing the structure of testing to provide immediate relief to all Class II release sites. I would like to specifically request that the Emergency Rules be amended to end all mandatory CWD testing in Class II release sites. Providing relief to Class II release sites would not impact the functions of the Department in containing the spread of CWD. This relief would provide equal testing for thousands of landowners across the state that are completely unconnected to CWD Tier One facilities.
The current testing and surveillance requirements are significantly injuring our industry without just cause. There has to be a better way forward for Texas small business owners. Please consider amending the proposed Interim Chronic Wasting Disease Response Rules to provide much needed relief to our industry. Our Texas businesses depend on your action.