TAHC Accepting Comments on Two New Rule Proposals – 3/18 deadline

The Texas Animal Health Commission (Commission) is currently accepting public comments on rule proposals that were authorized during the January 24 Commission meeting.

The Commission proposed amendments to Chapter 51, entitled “Entry Requirements.” The purpose of the proposed amendments are to make Texas’ entry requirements more consistent with current national interstate movement standards.

The Commission is specifically amending Section 51.3 entitled “Exceptions”, to clarify and modify interstate entry requirements for sheep, goats and swine. The first amendment will waive the prior requirement for an entry permit and certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) for swine consigned directly to slaughter, or consigned to a specifically approved livestock market from their farm of origin.

The proposed changes to Section 51.3 would also no longer require an entry permit for sheep and goats consigned from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sanctioned “Consistent States,” which means they have an active scrapie surveillance and control program.

The Commission is also removing a requirement related to Vesicular stomatitis (VS) in Section 51.7. Currently, when VS has been diagnosed in another state, the veterinarian issuing the CVI must write on it that any equine, bovine, porcine, caprine, ovine, or cervidae entering Texas from that state have not been exposed to the disease. The Commission has determined that other state’s quarantine and movement restriction safeguards are adequate to ensure exposed animals are not moving, without requiring the written statement. The Texas requirement prohibiting entry of certain livestock from a premises or area under quarantine for vesicular stomatitis will be left in place to protect Texas livestock.

In Section 51.14, the Commission is removing the requirement that swine imported into Texas for feeding, breeding, or exhibition purposes must be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection certifying that swine have not been exposed to hog cholera, which is now called Classical Swine Fever (CSF.) CSF has been eradicated from the United States for several years so this requirement is no longer necessary.

The previous rule proposals have a comment period of 30 days. They may be commented on until 5 p.m. on March 18, 2012. A detailed description of the proposed rules can be found on the TAHC web site at http://www.tahc.state.tx.us under Rule Proposals

The Commission also proposed amendments to Chapter 35, entitled “Brucellosis.” The Commission is proposing to remove the Brucellosis test requirement for change of ownership of adult sexually intact cattle, and to add a requirement that cattle be permanently and officially identified when there is a change of ownership.

On August 1, 2011, the Commission ceased to enforce the requirement for a brucellosis test at change of ownership due to a lack of funds to supplement the cost of testing at livestock markets. The agency is therefore proposing to amend the rule to officially end the test requirement. Historically, cattle that were tested for brucellosis had permanent official identification (such as ear tags) applied at the same time. This practice was a significant asset to the agency’s ability to successfully track or trace cattle as needed for all disease programs, not just brucellosis. The identification capability was also lost at the time that testing requirements ceased. The Commission is now proposing to require that all cattle that are parturient or post parturient or 18 months of age and older, except steers and spayed heifers, changing ownership within Texas shall be officially identified with Commission approved permanent identification.

This particular rule has a comment period of 60 days. It may be commented on until 5 p.m. on April 17, 2012. A detailed description of the proposed rule can be found on the TAHC web site at http://www.tahc.state.tx.us under Rule Proposals.

Comments on the TAHC’s 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 .

The Commission appreciates any comments on issues addressed in this document for consideration during drafting of the rule.

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.