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Voluntary National CWD Herd Certification Program

Elk ImageThe APHIS National CWD Herd Certification Program (HCP) is designed to be a voluntary federal -state- tribe - industry cooperative program administered by APHIS and implemented by participating states and tribes. In June 2012, APHIS published an interim final rule that established a national CWD HCP and interstate movement requirements for farmed and captive cervids.  The program’s objective is to achieve a national approach that minimizes the risk of spreading CWD in cervid populations through uniform national herd certification standards. These disease control efforts support the domestic and international marketability of U.S. farmed cervid herds. APHIS published a final rule affirming the CWD interim rule in the Federal Register on April 29, 2014 following consideration of public comments received.  

States may apply to become an Approved State HCP.  APHIS will review the applications to determine if the State meets national program requirements for Approved CWD HCP status. Cervid owners can enroll and participate in their Approved State CWD HCP.  APHIS may provide for herd owner enrollment directly in the national program if cervid farming is permitted by their State authorities but no Approved State CWD HCP exists in that herd owner's State.

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.

The rule also allows States to impose more restrictive requirements than those in the regulations, except in cases where cervids eligible to move interstate under the regulation are moving through a State without stopping and on to another state.

CWD Program Standards

The CWD Program Standards clarify language in the rule and provide guidance on suggested methods to comply with requirements in the CWD regulations. In July 2012 APHIS published the first edition of the CWD Program Standards as a guidance document to accompany the CWD interim final rule. In May 2014, following extensive review by a stakeholder working group and a public comment period, the Agency published its revised, second edition of the CWD program standards.  APHIS plans to review the CWD program standards annually with stakeholder input and revise them as needed. A copy of the CWD Program Standards (May 2014) is available for further details on the National CWD HCP.

Twenty-nine (29) states are currently participating as Approved States in the national CWD HCP by January 2015.  A List of Approved State CWD HCPs is available. 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 visit Application Documents for States.