another illegal importation attempt by a state wildlife agency
Mr. Curtis Fowler,
Dr. Loran Wagner,
Dr. Ed Ramsay,
Dr. Robert Stout,
Attached, please find the cervid importation regulations for the state of TN. I am forwarding this information as a courtesy to you knowing of your planned involvement with the elk herd at Land Between the Lakes (LBL) in western KY for the purpose of testing and shipping 27 elk to TN for release.
Please be advised that the elk at LBL clearly do not meet TN's import regulations in regard to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) monitoring. Only herds that have been in an approved CWD monitoring program since 1-1-2000 are eligible for importation into TN. Approved programs require all CWD susceptible animals, deer and elk in your case, to be double tagged with approved tamper resistant identification ear tags and to have an annual inventory of all cervids in the herd with all deceased animals having been diagnosed negative for CWD.
From my phone conversation with Mr. Fowler, I understand that all of the deer and elk have not been properly tagged for identification purposes and that at least half of the animals that have died, at the LBL enclosure, have not been found in time to be tested for CWD. Also, since all of the cervids do not have proper identification tags, there is no way to accurately complete a annual inventory. I realize that some CWD testing has been done on this LBL herd but this herd does meet any of the critical requirements of an approved program in order to qualify for interstate movement.
Since there has never been a whole herd test preformed on this herd of deer and elk for Tuberculosis (TB), Brucellosis or any thing else, any animal being ship interstate would be required to have two negative TB test preformed ninety days apart before interstate movement.
There are other requirements listed in the import regulations but at this point, they are moot due to the herd not meeting the CWD regulations.
Since the herd at LBL does not meet the importation requirements for TN, any attempt to ship these elk into TN would be in violation of TN law and therefore the interstate movement of these elk would also be a violation of the Lacey Act which would result in Federal charges being filed for anyone who knowingly participated in this illegal act.
Any attempt to move these animals without meeting all of the importation regulations for the receiving state, will be met with stiff legal opposition as we take the health and welfare of the receiving state's wildlife and livestock very serious.
Any attempt to move these animals by way of a WAIVER will also be met with stiff legal opposition.
An official with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), David Ledford, has stated to me that their association, for the last two years, has been on a self imposed moratorium and therefore not relocating any elk for fear of spreading CWD. The State Wildlife Agency of KY refuses to allow any cervids to be transported through their state for fear of CWD. State Wildlife Agencies in states that surround TN oppose this importation of unsafe elk into TN for fear of CWD which might spread to their states. It seems that the only one in favor of this risky unsafe elk importation is the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) and since they have plans to sell some of these elk for $50,000.00 to $100,000.00 each, according to TWRA's own figures, by way of a raffle starting in the hunting season of 2008, it makes me wonder what their objectives are. It must be to increase their revenue because it is certainly not to protect the health and welfare of wildlife or livestock in the state of TN.
As you can see, this is a very serious matter and deserves to be treated as such. Do not attempt to ship unsafe elk into TN that do not meet all of TN's import regulations!
David L. Autry
0080-2-1-.12 BISON AND OTHER RUMINANTS.
(1) Bison and other ruminants not covered herein shall comply with the requirements for “cattle” in 0080-2-1-.05, or as directed by the state veterinarian.
(2) Additional Tuberculosis Requirements For Cervidae
(a) All cervidae shall originate in herds which have had a negative herd test for tuberculosis within twelve (12) months with a USDA approved single cervical test and individual imported animals shall be negative to the single cervical test within thirty (30) days of entry; or
(b) Animals not orientating in tested herds as described above must test negative to two (2) single cervical tests at least ninety (90) days apart, the second test conducted not more than thirty (30) days prior to entry.
(3) Other Requirements For Captive, Chronic Wasting Disease Susceptible Cervidae
(a) No cervidae shall be imported from geographic areas where Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has ever been diagnosed in wildlife. For purposes of this rule, “geographic area” is any location where CWD has been diagnosed and the control zone around such area as defined by the Tennessee state veterinarian at the time a permit is requested.
(b) All Chronic Wasting Disease susceptible cervidae entering Tennessee must:
1. Be a member of a herd that has participated in an approved CWD surveillance program in which no CWD has ever been diagnosed nor has the herd been identified as a trace-back or trace-forward herd. The herd must have an enrollment date in the program on or before January 1, 2000.
(c) A prior entry permit shall be obtained by the issuing veterinarian from the office of the Tennessee State Veterinarian during regular office hours.
(d) The following statement must be recorded on the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection: “To the best of my knowledge, the animals listed are in compliance with the Tennessee CWD import rules for cervidae”.
(e) The owner/agent section of the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection must be signed.
Authority: T.C.A. §§4-3-203 and 44-2-102. Administrative History: Original rule certified June 5, 1974. Amendment filed April 18, 1979; effective June 4. 1979. Repeal by Public Chapter 261. New rule filed June 20. 1983; effective July 20, 1983. Amendment filed April 30, 1993; effective July 28, 1993. Amendment filed September 14, 1999; effective January 28, 2000. Amendment filed June 28, 2002; effective October 28, 2002.
Note: forwarded message attached.