WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2006–The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is soliciting comments on three petitions requesting that APHIS reconsider provisions and delay a recent final rule establishing a herd certification program and interstate movement restrictions for cervids to control the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). The CWD herd certification program and interstate movement of farmed or captive deer, elk and moose final rule, published on July 21, originally had an effective date of Oct. 19. However, in early August, APHIS received petitions from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials and the United States Animal Health Association asking for a delay and review. APHIS is taking this opportunity to solicit comments on the merits of these three petitions.

While the public is invited to comment on any of the issues raised by the petitions, APHIS is particularly interested in receiving comments related to the following areas:

  • Consider the alternatives of implementing a federal interstate movement standard versus allowing individual state standards to apply? What hardships or benefits would each alternative impose?

  • With respect to the spread of CWD, in addition to the requirements established by the APHIS CWD rule, what additional safeguards do states need to mitigate or reduce the risk of disease transmission and why are they needed?

  • What practical or operational problems may be expected from the final rule and from the alternatives suggested by the petitions? How could they be alleviated; and

  • Are there any alternatives that could address the petitioners’ concerns, other than allowing the movement requirements of individual states to take precedence over the federal standard?

The notice requesting comments on the petition is scheduled for publication in the Nov. 3 Federal Register.

Consideration will be give to comments received on or before Dec. 4. Send an original and three copies of postal or commercial delivery comments to Docket APHIS-2006-0118, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238. If you wish to submit a comment using the Internet go to the

Federal eRulemaking portal, select “Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service” from the agency drop-down menu; then click on “Submit.” In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2006-0118 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.

Comments are posted on the Regulations.gov Web site and may also be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.