The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) recently held a regularly scheduled meeting on May 21, 2013 at its Austin office. The TAHC proposed two amendments to the Brucellosis chapter (Section 35.4) concerning entry, movement and change of ownership of cattle.

The first proposed amendment would establish an entry permit and post entry test requirement for breeding cattle entering Texas from Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The proposal would require all breeding bulls and sexually intact female cattle from the above mentioned states to be tested for brucellosis 60 to 120 days after arrival unless they are entering for immediate slaughter or feeding for slaughter in a feedlot. Heifers from those same states must be tested negative for brucellosis 30 to 90 days after their first calving. While Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming animal health officials have developed management plans to address the risk of brucellosis spread within their states, this amendment was proposed to further guard against the reintroduction of cattle brucellosis into Texas. Brucellosis has been found in cattle and domestic bison herds near Yellowstone National Park in the three states, and in wild elk and bison populations both in and outside of the park. All post entry testing will be conducted at the owner’s expense.

The second amendment to Section 35.4 would remove the identification requirements at change of ownership for beef cattle from the brucellosis chapter. At the next Commission meeting, a new proposal will be made to place animal identification requirements for adult beef cattle in a new Animal Disease Traceability (Chapter 50). The existing dairy cattle ID requirements were not proposed for change.

The Commission also proposed amendments to Chapter 40, titled “Chronic Wasting Disease” (CWD). This chapter provides for a voluntary CWD Herd Certification Program within Texas for species that are susceptible to the disease. In December, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services (USDA-APHIS-VS) adopted an interim final rule establishing a national CWD Herd Certification Program with minimum requirements for interstate movement of deer, elk, and moose. As a result the Commission is making amendments to the Texas program to fully meet the federal program requirements. Passage of the proposal should allow the Texas cervid industry continued access to interstate markets, as regulated by USDA APHIS. Participation in the program remains voluntary.

Other rules proposed by the Commission during the meeting include:

  • Scabies Treatment (Chapter 39), to include new forms of acceptable treatment.
  • Cervid Tuberculosis (Chapter 43), recognizing a new blood test recently approved by USDA.
  • Approved Tagging Facility (Chapter 50), establishing state standards for facilities that may identify livestock moving interstate as per a new USDA traceability rule.

The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) will be accepting comments on all rules proposed at the May 21, 2013 Commission meeting between June 14 and July 15. The TAHC encourages and appreciates all comments. Comments on the proposed regulations must be submitted in writing to Carol Pivonka, Texas Animal Health Commission, 2105 Kramer Lane, Austin, Texas 78758, by fax at (512) 719-0721, or by e-mail to comments@tahc.state.tx.us. A detailed explanation of each rule proposal, including can be found on the TAHC web site.

Rules that were adopted at the May 21 meeting included amendments to Chapter 40, titled “Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)”, Chapter 41, titled “Fever Ticks”, and Chapter 55, titled “Swine”.

The amendment to Chapter 40 “Chronic Wasting Disease” repealed and replaced Section 40.5 “Elk Testing Requirements” with a new Section 40.5 “Movement Requirements for CWD Susceptible Species”. This amended rule changes the current surveillance requirements for intrastate movement of elk, and adds surveillance requirements for red deer and Sika deer. The rule will require individuals wishing to move these CWD susceptible species to establish an inventory with the TAHC, test 20% of eligible mortalities, and submit a movement record that includes the official identification numbers of animals being moved. The test age for this program is set at 16 months, similar to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s white-tail deer breeder program.

The amendment to Chapter 41 “Fever Ticks” was in Section 41.9, “Vacation and Inspection of a Premise”. The amended rule will require that all cattle in the Permanent Quarantine Zone be identified with permanent official identification and be presented annually for inspection.

The amendment to Chapter 55 “Swine” was in Section 55.5, “Pseudorabies”. This amended rule updates the testing timeframe for releasing swine that have been quarantined for exposure to Pseudorabies. This is in accordance with the USDA-APHIS-VS National Pseudorabies Eradication Program. The change to Section 55.5 will now allow swine to be released from quarantine with one negative herd test not less than 30 days from removal of the last reactor.

For more information, visit www.tahc.texas.gov or call 1-800-550-8242.

Founded in 1893, the Texas Animal Health Commission works to protect the health of all Texas livestock, including: cattle, swine, poultry, sheep, goats, equine animals, and exotic livestock.