TDA President - Bob Price
September 11, 2015
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Executive Director Carter Smith
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Dear Director Smith:
This letter is to set out the Texas Deer Association’s strong opposition to the newly issued Executive Order No. 015-003 and Emergency Rules 31 TAC §§65.90-65.93. On August 18, you issued Executive Order No. 015-003, on an emergency basis, after the 8th case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was found in a Texas deer in 3 years. It is our understanding that the Department authorized the adoption of Emergency Rules to govern the movement of white-tailed breeder deer throughout the state of Texas, claiming there was an immediate danger to all white-tailed deer in Texas. The Texas Deer Association unequivocally disagrees with the premise that there was an emergency to all deer in the state of Texas or that the Executive Order and Emergency Rules were done in a proper, fair and legal manner. We oppose the issuance of the Executive Order and the adoption of the Emergency Rules following the Executive Order.
The adoption, on an emergency basis, of new 31 TAC §§65.90-65.93 to implement additional disease testing requirements for only deer breeding facilities and sites where breeder deer are released or temporarily detained has created significant harm to the entire multi-billion dollar Texas deer industry. The emergency rules have placed an unjustified burden of inequitable testing on a breeder facilities and release sites. We feel it is necessary for you to re-evaluate the Emergency Rules immediately to account for unaccountable discrepancies in the governance of the Texas deer herd. Facilities unconnected to an index herd should not be tested. Release sites unconnected to the index herd should not be mandated to test wild deer. Finally, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Animal Health Commission should immediately implement a live-testing mechanism to ensure the needless death of deer in breeding facilities ends.
The Texas Deer Association stands firmly against the emergency rules as written. On many occasions, members of our industry offered input to the CWD Task Force and your Department to make these rules manageable moving forward. Our input was largely ignored. Additionally, since the discovery of CWD in Texas, industry groups directly commissioned by your department such as the Breeder User Group were never reassembled or asked to provide input. You have this resource at your direct disposal and have failed to acknowledge or access this expertise and input when implementing new rules governing our industry.
Executive Order No. 015-003 has had a severe and unnecessary negative effect on Texas hunters, landowners, breeders and other outdoor related groups. These Emergency Rules must be reviewed and changed immediately to prevent further and permanent damage to a vital rural Texas industry.
President, Texas Deer Association
CC: The Honorable T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman
The Honorable Ralph H. Duggins, Vice-Chairman
The Honorable Dan Allen Hughes, Jr.
The Honorable Bill Jones
The Honorable James H. Lee
The Honorable Margaret Martin
The Honorable S. Reed Morian
The Honorable Dick Scott