Texas CWD Update
I want to update our membership as well as all those concerned around the state of Texas and across the country about the current status of the positive CWD test in a breeder facility in Medina County. In the past 24 hours, I have had the opportunity to visit the facility in Medina County and meet with the Executive Directors of both state agencies (Dee Ellis from Texas Animal Health Commission and Carter Smith from Texas Parks and Wildlife). In each case these meetings were set on very short notice and I want to express my sincere appreciation to all of these folks for taking the time to communicate with me about this issue – especially on the Friday of a holiday weekend.
First, let me tell you about my visit to the facility in Medina County. Needless to say, they are devastated by the events of the last week. They are in constant communication with a team of experts from the TAHC and TPWD. It is very important to remember that these folks have done nothing wrong and should not be treated as such. As a community of passionate deer enthusiasts, I encourage all of you to provide your sympathy and support to these good people in a very difficult time. Take a moment and imagine yourself in that same place.
The meetings today with TAHC and TPWD were centered around these issues:
Protocol of Testing for Tier One Facilities
Removal of Quarantine for Facilities not Traced to Source
Communication has been absent since the announcement of the positive test. This has been partially due to the whirlwind of the last few days but also due to the fact that this is a first time event in Texas. I can assure you that beneficial communication has been re-established. We have a commitment from both agencies to receive updates by phone and email on a daily basis or as needed. You should all watch for emails from the TWIMS system to keep you updated as well. We were pleased to see TWIMS back online today as well so that breeders can access their records.
I confirmed today that CWD testing at Tier One facilities would be able to proceed concurrently with the testing at the source facility. This was extremely important to our industry to expedite the testing process for trace back purposes. The specific protocol for these Tier One facilities to follow to assure proper testing procedure will be provided to us no later than next Friday, July 10. I ask for these Tier One facilities to wait for this protocol to be established prior to initiating any further CWD testing. What is a Tier One facility? A Tier One facility is any facility that has provided deer to or received deer from the source facility in the last two years. You should receive specific notification from TAHC if you are a Tier One facility. One more note to these Tier One facilities; it is ultimately your decision whether you cooperate and follow the protocol. If you decide not to test these animals or do not follow protocol, you could negatively impact our industry greatly. This is an opportunity for us to demonstrate our willingness as an industry to do the right thing and I encourage each of these facilities to do so.
TAHC and TPWD were not willing to give me a concrete date on when quarantine would be lifted for those facilities not traceable to the source facility. But they wanted me to pass on to you that “they hear our request loud and clear.” Once again, I requested action on this issue by the agencies next Friday if at all possible. I urge patience from our membership and hope that we will see action by TAHC and TPWD to get movement qualification for those unaffected facilities open ASAP.
There is your quick update. Once again you can contact me at any time on my cell at 361-319-6926. I’m doing my best to answer or callback quickly. I appreciate all of you and will continue to update as necessary.
This is our chance to shine in a very difficult situation. I ask for your patience and your cooperation over the next couple of weeks as things begin to move forward.
Chase Clark – TDA President