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Cervids: CWD Voluntary Herd Certification Program

The CWD Herd Certification Program (HCP) is a cooperative effort between the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), State animal health and wildlife agencies, and farmed cervid owners. APHIS coordinates with these State agencies to encourage cervid owners to certify their herds and comply with the CWD Herd Certification Program Standards.

The goal of the HCP is to provide a consistent, national approach to control the incidence of CWD in farmed cervids and prevent the interstate spread of CWD. Achieving this goal will ultimately result in several important long‐term outcomes, including:
  • Healthy cervids (both farmed and wild populations) with a reduced risk of CWD. Increased confidence that HCP‐certified herds are low risk for CWD infection.
  • Strong trade of cervid animals and products (increased market confidence).
  • Reduced risk of transmission from, and environmental contamination by, CWD‐positive herds.

This goal is accomplished through the establishment of the national CWD herd certification program and interstate movement requirements for CWD‐susceptible cervids found in title 9 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) parts 55 and 81.  These regulations are written as performance‐based regulations that describe the legally required outcomes.

National CWD HCP requirements for all enrolled herd owners include fencing, individual animal ID's, regular inventories, and testing of all animals over 12 months that die for any reason. With each year of successful surveillance, participating herds will advance in status until reaching five years with no evidence of CWD, at which time herds are certified as being low risk for CWD.  Interstate movement of animals from herds will depend on participation in the program, compliance with program requirements, and herd certification status.

Twenty-eight (28) states are currently participating in the program as of December 2017. States interested to join the National CWD HCP must submit an application and supporting documents to APHIS.  To find out more about the application process, please see link below.

The CWD Herd Certification Program Standards

The CWD Herd Certification Program Standards provide detailed descriptions of acceptable methods for complying with the legal requirements in 9 CFR parts 55 and 81, which are performance-based regulations that describe the legally required out- comes. The Program Standards also provide guidance for sample collection, biosecurity, and disposal:

Part A, Herd Certification Program, describes acceptable methods to meet the minimum requirements to certify farmed cervid herds for interstate movement.

Part B, Guidance on Response to CWD, describes acceptable methods to meet the minimum requirements to respond to the finding of CWD in farmed cervid herds.

The methods in these Program Standards have been approved by the APHIS Admin- istrator. Alternatively, States may propose other methods/approaches to meet the regulatory requirements. These alternative proposals should be submitted in writing to APHIS for approval. States may also have additional or stricter requirements that exceed the minimum requirements described in the CWD regulations.

The Program Standards will be reviewed regularly by APHIS and, as appropriate, representatives of the cervid industry and State and Federal agencies. A notice will be published in the Federal Register to inform stakeholders of any revisions APHIS plans to the Program Standards.

Interstate Movement of Cervids

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