2019 National Standards for the Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Certification Programs

2019 standards come into effect December 31, 2019

The 2017 National Standards for Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Certification Programs will continue to be in effect until December 30, 2019.

The 2019 National Standards for Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Certification Programs will come into effect December 31, 2019. This delay allows regional programs to implement necessary updates.

On this page

Introduction

The national Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Herd Certification Programs will be referred to in this document as CWD HCPs. Participation in a CWD HCP is optional; however, once owners/cervid farm operators are enrolled in a CWD HCP, their compliance with the National Standards and the standard operating procedures (SOP) in their regional CWD HCP is mandatory.

The objectives of the CWD HCPs are to provide owners/cervid farm operators:

  • a means of detecting and preventing the introduction of CWD in their herd
  • the opportunity to have their herds identified as a member of Canada's compartment of "low risk" animals with respect to CWD
  • an opportunity to be eligible for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) CWD HCP disease response, including destruction and compensation if eligible, if CWD is confirmed in the herd

There is recognition that the risk of CWD diminishes to low with progressive participation and successful annual advancement in a CWD HCP. Enrolment in a CWD HCP provides reasonable assurance that purchasing cervids from owners/cervid farm operators enrolled at the same or higher level of a CWD HCP maintains the farm's current level of risk specific to exposure to CWD. Import requirements of other countries for cervids may be based on enrolment or activities under a CWD HCP. An owner/cervid farm operator of a licensed (where applicable) farmed cervid premises may enroll in a CWD HCP.

The CWD HCP requirements apply to all cervids of the family Cervidae, and involve the four CWD HCP pillars:

  1. maintenance of accurate, complete inventory records in which all cervids are accounted for
  2. ongoing testing of deaths and slaughter cervids
  3. limiting herd introductions to enrolled cervids of a similar or higher CWD HCP level
  4. implementation of the CWD HCP biosecurity measures

There are six levels in a CWD HCP, from the entry level, E, through levels D, C, B, A, to the highest level, "certified". A herd at certified level is not considered "CWD free"; rather, it indicates to potential purchasers that the herd is "low risk" for CWD, as all CWD HCP requirements set out in the National Standards have been followed for a minimum of five years. Since the ability to detect CWD in individual live cervids is limited, "low risk" status is maintained by continued adherence to all CWD HCP requirements.

The CWD HCPs are currently used for trade between owners/cervid farm operators within Canada, for export outside of Canada, for individual risk mitigation on enrolled farms, and for the CFIA to determine eligibility for its CWD HCP disease response program.

The CWD HCPs are carried out in co-operation with cervid owners, cervid farm operators, accredited veterinarians, provincial/territorial governments, outside contractors (e.g. Canadian Sheep Federation) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The roles assumed by each of these organizations may vary in different geographic regions of Canada.

If any cervid in the herd is suspected of being, or proves to be, infected with CWD at any time during its enrolment, the herd will automatically be suspended by the status assessor, and may be investigated under any applicable CWD disease control program.

1. Roles and responsibilities

1.1 National administrator

This role and the associated responsibilities will be assumed by the CFIA in all situations. The national administrator oversees the integrity and international recognition of the regional CWD HCPs. The CFIA accomplishes this through the development and maintenance of National Standards for the CWD HCPs, including the following:

  • undertaking a review of the CWD HCP National Standards in consultation with provincial/territorial governments, regional program administrators and industry, to modify and update as required
  • providing the current national standards (and any update directives) to the organizations responsible for regional administration (see section 1.2 Regional administrator)
  • reviewing any CWD herd certification program proposed for a specific region of Canada and determining equivalency to the published CWD HCP National Standards
  • conducting audits of CWD HCP design and implementation to verify that the CWD HCP in a particular region of Canada meets the national standards
  • negotiating international recognition of the CWD HCPs and endorsing export certification by the CFIA, which will only be done for those CWD HCP certifications in good standing, and judged by the CFIA to meet the National Standards
  • assessing the equivalency of foreign CWD herd certification programs
  • designing and implementing a quality assurance program for non-CFIA laboratories performing transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) testing
  • ensuring the maintenance of a publicly accessible list (e.g. published on the CFIA website, or links to a status assessor's website) of all enrolled herds and their status levels (this list will be updated on a quarterly basis)
  • performing all confirmatory testing on non-negative samples at CFIA's National and OIE Laboratory for CWD
  • reporting confirmed positive results to the cervid owner/cervid farm operator and to the status assessor
  • communicating with the regional administrator and/or status assessor when CFIA CWD disease control activities affect enrolled herds, including changes to a herd's CWD categorization (e.g. if a CWD-exposed herd becomes a CWD-positive herd) and removal of regulatory controls (e.g. when a CWD disease investigation concludes)

1.2 Regional administrator

This role and the associated responsibilities may be assumed by a national or provincial/territorial industry group, or a provincial/territorial government. The regional administrator is responsible for overseeing enrolment in the CWD HCP for a particular region of Canada, including the following:

  • developing a CWD HCP that meets the national standards, and outlining all policies and procedures of that regional CWD HCP in a set of standard operating procedures (SOP)
  • developing and distributing an agreement (application form) for entry into the CWD HCP, which is signed by the owner/cervid farm operator and the accredited veterinarian (this agreement must include a statement protecting the CFIA from any liability arising from the regional CWD HCP)
  • developing and distributing forms required for the CWD HCP, including application, inventory, and annual report forms (the producer's annual report form will include a statement or checkbox indicating that there are no significant changes to the cervid operation)
  • enrolling owners/cervid farm operators once they have met the requirements of the CWD HCP
  • collecting and collating all data on enrolled herds in that region
  • producing an inventory report, based on the previous year's inventory, and providing it to the appropriate program delivery person at least one month prior to the anniversary date
  • upon request, issuing certificates indicating the status level of a herd or the status level of an individual cervid from that herd
  • informing the national administrator of the status of all enrolled herds on a quarterly basis
  • appointing and training status assessors and program delivery personnel (if a provincial/territorial program for accredited veterinarians is developed, it would need to be reviewed and approved by the CFIA)
  • informing all enrolled owners/cervid farm operators, as well as staff of the regional administrator and status assessors, of any updates regarding the CWD HCP
  • designing an appeal/review process for decisions made with respect to the CWD HCP that is in compliance with national standards

1.3 Status assessor

The role of assessor of herd status may be assumed by a national or provincial/territorial industry group, or a provincial/territorial government. The status assessor is responsible for the following:

  • receiving and reviewing completed applications for enrolment into the CWD HCP
  • accepting herds into the appropriate status level of the CWD HCP or informing the owners/cervid farm operators or the responsible veterinarian of any outstanding requirements that prevent enrolment at that time
  • verifying the reconciliation of the herd inventories
  • approving all changes in status level and posting the status publicly (as outlined in sections 2.3 Suspension/revocation/withdrawal, 2.5 Reporting and in the regional administrator's SOP)
  • investigating non-compliance with CWD HCP requirements, and suspending (and/or revoking) CWD HCP status when required
  • communicating suspension to the owner/cervid farm operator
  • investigating herds that are suspended and proceeding with reinstatement or revocation of CWD HCP status
  • informing the regional administrator of changes in the status of a herd (additions, suspensions, revocations) as they occur
  • implementing and conducting the appeal/review process
  • developing and implementing a protocol for the reporting and re-introduction of escaped farmed cervids (a decision on the disposition of the escaped cervid(s), when recovered, will depend on a risk assessment of the level of CWD found in wild cervids in the immediate area)

1.4 Program delivery

Owners/cervid farm operators have overall responsibility for program compliance and ensuring program delivery. Program delivery is carried out in collaboration with an accredited veterinarian or a provincial/territorial official veterinarian, with or without approved third parties, with each having a particular role. Veterinarians wishing to become accredited by the CFIA for the CWD HCP function should contact their CFIA district veterinarian.

Accredited veterinarians are accredited by the CFIA or the appropriate regional administrator's provincial/territorial government (where a provincial/territorial accreditation process exists). Official veterinarians are employed within a provincial/territorial department responsible for the administration of the regional CWD HCP. Accredited veterinarians and official veterinarians are authorized to conduct all aspects of program delivery, including performing the third-party inventories, annual inspections, and sample collection.

Accredited veterinarians or official veterinarians are specifically responsible for the health of the cervid herd and program biosecurity measures (standards) which are designed to decrease the risk of CWD entering cervid herds enrolled in the CWD HCPs. This role may also be filled by trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the CWD HCP department (eg. game farm inspectors, etc.). These responsibilities include:

  • reviewing the requirements of the regional CWD HCP and responding to questions from the owner/cervid farm operator applying for or enrolled in the CWD HCP
  • verifying the accuracy of the site plan and noting any potential biosecurity concerns which may impact the CWD health of the herd
  • assessing the actual facilities and structures (as indicated on the site plan) on a premises proposed for enrolment in the CWD HCP, and verifying its compliance to program standards
  • teaching the owner/cervid farm operator to recognize the clinical signs of CWD, and providing information on the epidemiology of the disease and herd management to prevent CWD
  • conducting (or supervising) the herd inventory (including the third-party inventory), and performing the annual inspection
  • assessing the health of the herd to determine whether any cervid is demonstrating clinical signs of CWD
  • immediately notifying the CFIA of the existence of any cervid suspected of having CWD
  • collecting and submitting tissue samples from dead cervids or those that are destroyed, as may be requested
  • ensuring that, for all cervids presented for CWD sampling, all identification devices have been verified in situ
  • verifying that all CWD HCP requirements are met, including verifying the reconciliation of the inventory
  • checking records, signing any necessary reports, including initial CWD HCP application form and annual reports

Approved third parties are approved by the regional administrator as eligible Program deliverers, and are trained and qualified to deliver certain aspects of the CWD HCP. Approved third parties may be staff of a provincial/territorial department or agency, an animal health technician who is registered under the appropriate provincial/territorial licensing body and supervised by an accredited veterinarian, or a CFIA veterinarian or inspector. Approved third parties are trained, qualified and approved for:

  • performing producer inventories – counting all cervids and recording at least one unique identifier for each cervid on a premises
  • performing third-party inventories – counting all cervids and recording all identification devices (any cervids showing signs of ill-health are identified to the accredited veterinarian or official veterinarian for further examination)
  • checking fences if required

A certified CWD sample collector is an individual who has completed appropriate training and is certified by the regional administrator as authorized to collect samples for CWD testing. A certified CWD sample collector may be an approved third party or a cervid farm operator. He/she must operate at arm's length from the owner/cervid farm operator and may not collect samples from his/her own animals. A certified CWD sample collector is responsible for ensuring that, for all cervids presented for sample collection, all identification devices have been verified in situ.

1.5 Laboratories

A CFIA-approved laboratory is a laboratory that is part of the CFIA National TSE Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Network (NTSE-VDLN), and that meets the quality assurance requirements for approved CWD tests (see Accredited Veterinarian's Manual section 13.6 Appendix 1C: List of Laboratories). Laboratory approval is accompanied by training and the implementation of a quality assurance program established by the CFIA. Laboratories providing diagnostic testing services for the CWD HCPs are responsible for the following:

  • receiving, preparing and testing tissue samples in accordance with the CFIA national protocol for the diagnosis of CWD (Inter-Laboratory Quality Guidelines of the CFIA National TSE Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Network)
  • participating in the Inter-Laboratory Quality Assurance Program under the advice of the CFIA's National and OIE Reference Laboratory for CWD, as described in the protocols listed in the Inter-Laboratory Quality Guidelines of the CFIA National TSE Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Network
  • reporting of non-negative test results as outlined by CFIA
  • arranging transfer of non-negative samples to CFIA's National and OIE Reference Laboratory for CWD (in Ottawa) for confirmation
  • reporting negative test results to the submitter
  • assessing whether a tissue sample is adequate to permit diagnosis of CWD and notifying the submitter of samples that are unsuitable for testing
  • ensuring that for whole head samples received for CWD testing under the CWD HCP, all identification devices have been verified in situ
  • providing the required sample submission forms
  • disposing of tissues and carcasses in their possession in accordance with the environmental regulations in force in the province or territory (positive carcasses must be disposed of by burial, incineration or approved specified-risk material streams)

1.6 Owners/cervid farm operators

In these National Standards, an owner is an individual, partnership, company, corporation or other legal entity that has legal or rightful title to a cervid or a herd of cervids, regardless of any liens held on the cervid(s). A cervid farm operator is a person who is licensed (where applicable) under the relevant domestic cervid farm regulations (where applicable) to operate a domestic cervid farm; this person may or may not be the owner. Owners/cervid farm operators are persons who have responsibility for the daily care and handling of all cervids on a premises. Owners/cervid farm operators can apply for herd enrolment under a CWD HCP. Individuals who own or lease cervids but do not have responsibility for all cervids on the premises cannot apply for herd enrolment under a CWD HCP.

Owners/cervid farm operators are responsible for:

  • ensuring that the premises, the individual cervids and the herd meet the requirements of the National Standards and the regional CWD HCP
  • ensuring submission of documentation as required by the regional CWD HCP
  • procuring the services of an accredited veterinarian or official veterinarian, or trained and qualified provincial/territorial CWD HCP staff, with or without approved third parties (as in section 1.4 Program Delivery) to deliver the CWD HCP
  • maintaining fences that meet any applicable (federal, provincial/territorial) standards in a manner to prevent intrusion (ingress) or escape (egress) of cervids (see section 4.4.2 Fencing)
  • providing the necessary facilities and assisting the accredited veterinarian or official veterinarian or provincial/territorial CWD HCP staff with inspection and handling of cervids for inventories and annual inspections
  • reporting quarterly, to the status assessor and the appropriate provincial/territorial Ministry, the death of any cervid(s) 12 months of age and older
  • reporting immediately to the CFIA district veterinarian any cervid suspected of being clinically affected by CWD
  • reporting to the status assessor and the appropriate provincial/territorial Ministry, any cervids that have escaped, disappear or are otherwise missing from the premises as per the protocol outlined in the SOP
  • reporting immediately, or with reasonable promptness, to the status assessor and the appropriate provincial Ministry, the entry of any wild cervids into the premises
  • obtaining, maintaining and compiling all relevant documentation of cervid acquisitions, births, and departures (keeping records as per section 3.10)
  • agreeing, with reasonable notice, to make the cervids and records available so that the accredited veterinarian, the provincial/territorial regulatory agency, the regional administrator/status assessor and/or the CFIA can inspect them

Any changes to the operation/premises, including the accredited veterinarian, must be reported to the regional administrator and/or status assessor. Documentation must be included in the owner/cervid farm operator's registration file.

2. Administration

2.1 Enrolment procedure

2.1.1 Application

The owner/cervid farm operator contacts the CFIA district veterinarian to determine the organization responsible for the CWD HCP in the region in which the herd is located.

The owner/cervid farm operator contacts the CWD HCP regional administrator and requests an application package.

An application package is completed and submitted to the organization responsible for status assessment. The application must be accompanied by the following:

  • site plan (see section 4.4.1 Site Plan). The site plan will identify all structures and grazing areas to which cervids are given access, the storage locations of feed for cervids, water sources, proximity to other farmed cervid herds and location of fences
  • initial herd inventory, prepared by the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian or approved third party, within the three-month period immediately prior to acceptance of the application. The initial herd inventory is a third-party inventory (see section 4.1.1 Inventories)
  • confirmation that the record-keeping system enables the records to be reviewed completely and effectively

2.1.2 Assignment of status level

The status assessor reviews the application and assigns a status level upon official acceptance to the CWD HCP.

Accelerated admission up to level C of the CWD HCP may be possible for herds that have met all current CWD HCP requirements for one or more years prior to application. Documentation demonstrating that the current CWD HCP requirements were being met for that period of time must be provided. Advancement would only be for the number of years all CWD HCP requirements were being met, and documented, and only for a maximum of three years (level C).

2.1.3 Acquired status

CWD HCP status can be transferred to newly formed herds. If an owner/cervid farm operator starts a new herd with acquired cervids of level D or higher, the new farm can inherit the lowest status level of the source animals, provided the following conditions are met:

  • the owner/cervid farm operator follows all regular application procedures as above
  • the on-farm inventory is completed within four months of first arrival of animals on the premises
  • the premises where the herd will reside meets the premises history requirements as outlined below in section 2.1.4

2.1.4 Premises history

An owner/cervid farm operator seeking to maintain the acquired status of a newly formed herd must determine if farmed cervids have been contained on the premises in the past and provide a letter stating that the premises where the herd will reside meets one of the following conditions:

  • the premises has never contained farmed cervids, or
  • the farmed cervids previously contained on the premises were enrolled on a CWD HCP, including proof of status level

If there were no farmed cervids on the premises previously, or the previous farmed cervids on the premises were enrolled on a CWD HCP, then the new herd may start at the lowest status level of the cervids being stocked on the premises or of the cervids previously contained on the premises, whichever is lower (following a risk assessment by the status assessor based on the VHCP compliance of the previous cervids).

If it is unknown whether farmed cervids were on the premises previously, or if the farmed cervids were not enrolled on a CWD HCP, the new herd must start at level E. If a CWD-positive herd was previously contained on the premises, the requirements outlined below in section 2.1.5 apply.

2.1.5 Previously infected premises

A herd being established on a premises where a CWD-positive herd has been subject to the CFIA CWD Disease Control Program may only be admitted to a CWD HCP at level E, no sooner than one year after cervids have been re-introduced to the premises, provided that:

  • the CFIA has categorized the premises as minimally contaminated
  • all disease control actions (depopulation, cleaning and disinfection) have been completed, and
  • any existing declarations of infected place and quarantines have been removed

Herds contained on premises evaluated as highly contaminated are not eligible for enrolment.

2.1.6 Anniversary date

The status assessor assigns an anniversary date upon official acceptance to the CWD HCP.

When requested by an owner/cervid farm operator, and at the discretion of the status assessor, an anniversary date may be changed if there is a legitimate reason and it doesn't provide an unfair advantage to the owner/cervid farm operator. This may be accomplished by advancing the date by up to three months each year until the desired date is reached.

2.1.7 Enrolment of CWD-exposed herd

A herd that has been classified as CWD-exposed or is being investigated under any CWD disease control program is not eligible for immediate enrolment.

A CWD-exposed herd can be accepted into a CWD HCP at level E no sooner than three years after the herd has been identified as a CWD-exposed herd unless the herd has been cleared of its CWD suspicion sooner.

CWD suspicion will be eliminated by negative CWD tests results of the individual cervids that are epidemiologically linked to a CWD-positive herd, with oversight as determined by the CFIA, and/or when CWD disease investigations have eliminated the CWD suspicion.

2.2 Advancement or changes to status

2.2.1 CWD HCP status levels

A CWD HCP includes six status levels, from the entry level (level E) to the highest level (certified). A minimum of five years (one year each at level E, D, C, B, A) is necessary for an enrolled herd to reach the certified level. Once a herd has reached the certified level, it maintains this level provided all applicable requirements continue to be met.

2.2.2 Advancement

The status level of the herd may be upgraded annually (or maintained at the certified level) if the following conditions are met:

  • the premises is not currently subject to any actions related to a CWD disease control program, and
  • the herd has met all CWD HCP requirements

2.2.3 Annual report

The owner/cervid farm operator must submit an annual report, as per section 4.1.3 Annual report. All supporting documentation must be submitted to the status assessor for review and approval.

The completed annual report must be signed by the owner/cervid farm operator and the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian, or provincial/territorial CWD HCP staff. Specific criteria for advancement can be found in section 4 Specific Criteria for Program Pillars.

For all status levels, the status assessor reviews the annual report and approves advancement (or continuation at the certified level), or identifies deficiencies that prevent advancement.

Criteria for decision-making are to be included in the regional administrator's SOP. Once a decision is made, it is documented to the owner/cervid farm operator.

2.2.4 Delay in submission of annual report

Failure to submit an annual report within 15 months of the anniversary date will result in suspension from the CWD HCP.

Before suspension, the status assessor will undertake an investigation/review. If the delay in submission was due to circumstances beyond an owner's/cervid farm operator's control (i.e. emergency, serious illness or death in the family, etc.), the status assessor may, at his or her discretion, grant an extension and has one week to decide whether to grant said extension. If an extension is granted, it should be limited to no more than two weeks from the original deadline, after which the suspension will take effect.

2.2.5 Deficiencies

When deficiencies are identified, the status assessor may require that the current level be maintained until the deficiencies are addressed. This decision is at the discretion of the status assessor. However, this should be no longer than one year, after which the status of the herd will be suspended, downgraded or revoked.

2.3 Suspension/revocation/withdrawal

2.3.1 Suspension

All suspensions are intended to be temporary measures. While a herd is suspended, it remains enrolled but has no officially recognized status level (E, D, C, B, A or certified) of risk mitigation for CWD on a CWD HCP; thus, the status is considered "suspended". After investigating the situation that led to the suspension, the status assessor must decide on an outcome of the suspension. The three possible outcomes of a suspension are: 1) the herd is reinstated and advanced to an appropriate level or maintained at the certified level, 2) the herd is reinstated but is not advanced or is downgraded to a lower level, or 3) the herd's enrolment on the CWD HCP is revoked.

See section 2.5 Reporting for information on how a suspension is indicated in the published list of enrolled herds.

2.3.2 No issuance of status certificates while suspended

When a herd enrolled in a CWD HCP has its status suspended, status certificates will not be issued until the suspension is lifted and the herd is reinstated in the program. Status certificates will not be issued during the period of suspension and cervids from the suspended herd will not be eligible for any programs or certificates for which a recognized CWD HCP status is required. The sale or transfer of a cervid from a suspended herd to another person on the CWD HCP would have a detrimental effect on the operation (and CWD HCP status) of the purchasing herd. See section 4.3 Limited Entry for more information. Any movements are always subject to provincial and territorial regulations where applicable.

2.3.3 Reasons for suspension

Reasons for suspension include the following:

  • the owner/cervid farm operator does not submit the annual report within 15 months of the anniversary date
  • the herd has failed to meet the testing criteria or any other criteria for advancement (and none of the exemptions apply)
  • suspicion of CWD, including being subject to a CWD investigation under any CWD disease control program or being identified as a CWD-exposed herd
  • any contravention of CWD HCP requirements

2.3.4 Investigation of suspended herds

Suspended herds must be investigated in a timely manner by the status assessor to determine why the owner's/cervid farm operator's submitted documentation indicates a lack of compliance with the CWD HCP. The investigation should include a discussion with the owner/cervid farm operator to determine the reason for the non-compliance, to ensure that the requirements of the CWD HCP are well understood, and to take steps to help the owner/cervid farm operator comply. Where it has been determined that the herd will not be able to comply with the CWD HCP requirements in the near future, the status assessor revokes the enrolment.

2.3.5 Suspension procedures

An owner/cervid farm operator whose herd is under review for possible revocation from the CWD HCP will be given the opportunity to submit any relevant information to the status assessor, provided that this is done no later than 30 days after suspension. The status assessor will notify the owner/cervid farm operator in writing of the reasons for the suspension and give the owner/cervid farm operator the opportunity to appeal within the following 60 days. The notice will include the name and address of the lead person responsible for the appeals review committee, as established by the status assessor.

2.3.6 Suspension time limit

A herd may only remain suspended for a period of up to one year. After this time, the enrolment of the herd in the CWD HCP is revoked.

Herds that are suspended due to an investigation under a CWD disease control program are exempt from this provision.

2.3.7 CWD disease investigation

If an enrolled herd is identified as CWD exposed, the herd will automatically be suspended and investigated under any applicable CWD disease control program. Once the investigation is complete, CFIA will inform the status assessor of the finding and the herd's risk. The status assessor will use this information to determine the outcome of the suspension (reinstate, downgrade or revoke). If the herd has been cleared of its CWD-exposed status, then the herd will be re-instated and will regain the status level it would have achieved but for the disease investigation, provided all CWD HCP requirements were met during the suspension period.

2.3.8 Revocation of CWD-positive herd

If a participating herd is found to be infected with, or a source of CWD, its enrolment will be revoked.

2.3.9 Re-enrolment following revocation

Re-enrolment following revocation may be considered at the discretion of the status assessor; however, all herds re-enrolling after revocation must do so beginning at level E.

An owner/cervid farm operator whose herd has been removed from a CWD HCP due to contravention of CWD HCP requirements may submit a new application after meeting the conditions stipulated in the CWD HCP. In such a case, the owner/cervid farm operator must submit satisfactory proof to the status assessor that steps have been taken to ensure that the herd will meet the CWD HCP requirements in the future. Conditions may be imposed by the status assessor during the first year of re-enrolment. In cases where the herd was removed for reasons of information falsification, failure to report to a CFIA veterinary inspector that a cervid might have CWD, or any other action that might expose other cervids to CWD, an owner/cervid farm operator may lose the privilege of registering in a CWD HCP.

2.3.10 Voluntary withdrawal

An owner/cervid farm operator who chooses to withdraw his/her herd from the program must notify the regional administrator of the withdrawal.

2.4 Appeals

2.4.1 Appeals/review eligibility

An owner/cervid farm operator may appeal a decision regarding advancement or downgrading in the event of an incomplete or unsatisfactory submission of the annual report, which includes appealing a decision by the status assessor not to accept an exemption, or sacrifice(s), for missed sample(s). An owner/cervid farm operator may also appeal a suspension or a revocation of registration, but not both. Furthermore, an owner/cervid farm operator may appeal a decision made by the status assessor regarding conditions imposed before the herd is allowed to participate in a CWD HCP after a suspension or revocation.

2.4.2 Appeals/review design

The regional administrator must design an appeals/review process. At the request of the owner/cervid farm operator, the status assessor will implement the appeals/review process to consider the submitted appeals. The appeals/review committee will provide the status assessor with a recommendation as to whether the appeal should be accepted. A representative of the status assessor will be the non-voting chairperson of the committee. A representative of the appropriate cervid organization may assist the committee to provide information related to the cervid industry. In order to ensure consistency in the appeals process between regional programs and provide clarification on the National Standards, it is required that a representative of the CFIA observe the appeal as a non-voting member of the committee.

2.4.3 Appeals/review committee composition

The individuals appointed must each represent one or more of the following groups:

  • an employee of the provincial/territorial veterinary authority
  • an employee of any provincial/territorial department responsible for regulation of the farmed cervid industry
  • a professional employee of a college or university who is familiar with the cervid industry
  • a producer representative of the small ruminant industry and currently enrolled in the Scrapie Flock Certification Program (SFCP), or
  • a representative of the status assessor from another Canadian regional CWD HCP

2.4.4 Appeals/review procedure

The request for appeal must be made in writing by the owner/cervid farm operator to the status assessor, and set out the reasons why the appeal should be considered.

The committee may consider appeals in written form or via teleconference, and need not meet in person. All references to an owner's/cervid farm operator's personal information are to be removed/hidden from the appeals review documents sent to the committee representatives. An owner/cervid farm operator has the option of being present on a teleconference to present material.

After review and consideration of the appeal/review committee's recommendations, the status assessor makes the final decision regarding the appeal.

2.4.5 Scientific review committee

Where the status assessor believes the recommendation of the appeals review committee would jeopardize the integrity of the CWD HCP, the status assessor may convene a further committee consisting of the CFIA Veterinary Program Specialist responsible for CWD or a delegate, and two provincial/territorial government veterinarians from provinces/territories where the government is responsible for regulation of the cervid industry. A representative of the national cervid organization will be an ex-officio (non-voting) member of the committee. Following consultation with these additional individuals, the status assessor makes the final decision regarding the appeal. The decision and associated rationale are documented by the status assessor and placed in the associated herd's file.

2.5 Reporting

Information sharing requires that all herd information relevant to CWD or the population of the herd – including registrations, suspensions, revocations, changes in status, inventories, test results, movement permits, deaths, or sales – be available to the owner/cervid farm operator, the appropriate provincial/territorial department or agency, the regional administrator, the status assessor, the accredited veterinarian and the CFIA.

The regional administrator will maintain a list of all herds enrolled in the CWD HCP, along with their current level, on their website (or on CFIA's website, should the organization not have this capability). The owner/cervid farm operator must agree to allow publication of the herd status level under the CWD HCP at all times. Herds that have been suspended for any reason may be published with the indication of their suspended status or they may be removed entirely from the published list of enrolled herds until the suspension has been resolved, as determined by the policy set in the regional administrator's SOP.

The CFIA will maintain a website that will list and/or provide links to all enrolled herds, along with current status levels.

2.6 Review of the national standards

The National Standards will be reviewed, at a minimum, on an annual basis, or sooner as required based on new scientific information or by the consensus of the Review Panel. Along with the national administrator, the Review Panel will include one representative from each regional administration and three industry representatives and, ideally, will occur in the winter (between January 2 and March 31).

3. General rules

3.1 Regional CWD HCP recognition

In order for a regional CWD HCP to be eligible for recognition, it must meet or exceed the requirements of the national standards. The regional administrator's SOP must be approved by the national administrator. The regional administrator must submit any updates in the SOP to the national administrator as updates occur.

Implementation of the administration of the regional CWD HCP is subject to CFIA audits at random time intervals.

In provinces/territories in which a provincial/territorial authority or agency is responsible for CWD HCP delivery, adequate training of staff must be undertaken, and this training may be audited by CFIA.

3.2 Enrolment eligibility

The regional CWD HCP must be open to any owner/cervid farm operator of a premises on which cervids are kept, provided that the owner/cervid farm operator and the premises meet the regional CWD HCP requirements, that the owner/cervid farm operator of the premises holds a valid cervid farm licence (where applicable), and that the right to participate in the regional CWD HCP has not been revoked.

3.3 Legislative preeminence

The National Standards and requirements of the regional CWD HCPs do not undermine the authority of federal, provincial or territorial legislation. For example, regulations that govern fencing, wildlife, movement permits or waterways will always take precedence over CWD HCP requirements.

3.4 Herd includes all cervids

All cervids on a premises must be included in the herd enrolled in the regional CWD HCP, ownership notwithstanding.

3.5 Agreements

The agreement between the regional administrator and the owner/cervid farm operator must be signed, and the premises must meet the requirements of the regional CWD HCP. The herd owner/cervid farm operator must arrange for the services of an accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian, or provincial/territorial CWD HCP staff to deliver the CWD HCP, and acceptance of their role in delivery of the CWD HCP within the enrolled herd is reflected by their signature on the application form. The agreement must include a statement protecting the CFIA from any liability arising from the regional CWD HCP.

3.6 Multiple premises

Multiple premises must be listed under the same certification contract if the premises belong to the same owner and are located contiguous to each other or there is co-mingling between the premises. The premises must collectively meet all of the regional CWD HCP requirements. Compliance with the CWD HCP requirements does not negate the requirement to comply with other federal or provincial programs associated with cervids, such as cervid movement permits.

Multiple premises that are not contiguous may be permitted to be listed under the same certification contract if the premises belong to the same owner/cervid farm operator. The lands and the equipment must be under the same management system and may use the same equipment. The groups of animals are of the same status level and will be considered as one herd for the CWD HCP. Whatever happens to one premises will happen to the other and the combined premises will hold the status of the lowest premises.

3.7 Facilities

Facilities must be suitable for the safe handling of cervids and, as necessary, for the examination of all cervid identification devices (including CFIA Health of Animals tags, if applicable). Fences must be constructed and adequately maintained to prevent the escape or intrusion of cervids and must meet any provincial/territorial standards and any additional standards as may be stated in this document. All harvested and purchased feed must be stored in a manner that renders it inaccessible to wild cervids.

3.8 Reporting of cervid illness

The owner/cervid farm operator must report to their accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian, or provincial/territorial CWD HCP staff any illness in a cervid 12 months of age and older lasting longer than two weeks, except a physical injury that has lasted longer than two weeks but is improving at the normal or expected rate. The accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian, or provincial/territorial CWD HCP staff will be responsible for monitoring the outcome of the case and for reporting the case to the CFIA if CWD is a possible diagnosis.

3.9 Identification

Before they reach 12 months of age, all cervids must be identified by at least two unique identification devices, one of which must be an official device (where required), and one of which is readable from a distance. Where both national and provincial/territorial official identification requirements exist, the identification of the cervids must comply with both requirements. All cervids must be similarly tagged if moved off the premises, or if a change in ownership occurs.

Cervids less than 12 months of age must be identified in a manner that enables the owner/cervid farm operator to track these cervids in the herd inventory. They must be appropriately identified (where required by regulation) when a change in ownership occurs or when the cervids are moved outside their usual location (e.g. insemination centre, sales barn or auction barn).

3.10 Records

The owner/cervid farm operator must keep detailed records of every cervid that is born on or enters the premises, no matter who the owner is or who is responsible for the cervid. The records must be kept for a period of five years after the cervid has left the herd or has died. They must be made available to the status assessor, the accredited veterinarian, program delivery personnel or the CFIA inspector at any reasonable time, and must be presented at the time of each annual inspection or inventory.

For all cervids in the herd, the basic data that must be maintained in records and included as part of the annual report includes the following:

  • the cervid's species
  • the cervid's identification tag/device number(s)
  • the cervid's sex
  • the date the cervid entered the herd (day if available, month and year)
  • the cervid's date of birth (day, month, year)
  • the source of the cervid (homegrown, purchased, loaned)
  • any cervid movement permits
  • if the cervid was not born in the herd, the name and address of the person from whom it was obtained; a copy of the proof of herd status issued for the herd of origin; and the day, month, and year it was issued
  • the date the cervid left the herd; the premises to which the cervid was moved; and the name, address, and telephone number of the person to whom the cervid was sold (new owners/cervid farm operators are required to keep bills of sale)
  • the reason for the cervid leaving and appropriate documentation (a shipping invoice if shipped, a receipt if sold, a date of death/test result), and
  • CWD testing results for all cervids 12 months of age and older that die (including slaughter, as per section 4.2.1 Annual surveillance requirements) or are destroyed for any reason

3.11 Prohibited material

If an owner's/cervid farm operator's farm also has non-ruminants on site, measures must be taken to prevent access of farmed cervids to prohibited material. Where required, copies of all invoices must be kept for an animal food that contains prohibited material (section 171 of the Health of Animals Regulations).

4. Specific criteria for program pillars

4.1 Inventories, inspections and annual reports

4.1.1 Inventories

Inventories must be conducted every year and must occur within three months of the anniversary date.

Third-party inventories are to be conducted by the accredited veterinarian or official veterinarian or an approved third party (see section 1.4 Program Delivery). The inventory will identify all cervids on the premises. During the third-party inventory, all live cervids 12 months of age and older in the herd (and any stored dead cervid heads/samples) must be individually inspected and all identification devices, including any official devices, must be recorded. The accredited veterinarian or official veterinarian must check for any clinical symptoms of CWD in cervids identified as showing signs of ill-health. If identification cannot be made visually, the cervid(s) must be restrained for verification.

Cervids under 12 months of age must be counted and recorded on the inventory, but they do not require unique identifiers.

See section 3.9 Identification for more information on identification requirements.

If a herd inspection is performed by a CFIA veterinary inspector for the purposes of the CFIA's tuberculosis or brucellosis testing program, this may replace part, or all, of the inventory. When using a CFIA inventory of the 12 months of age and older cervids, the inventory of the cervids less than 12 months of age may be performed by the owner/cervid farm operator.

A reconciliation of the inventory findings is performed by the producer. The reconciliation must be verified by the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian or trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the CWD HCP department and included in the annual report. The reconciliation accounts for all cervids that have entered or left the premises for any reason since the last annual report.

The initial and first-year inventories must be third-party inventories. Thereafter, third-party inventories are required at least every two years. For example, if an owner's/cervid farm operator's herd is scheduled for CFIA tuberculosis and brucellosis testing in a year when it is not due for a CWD HCP third-party inventory, that third-party inventory may be used and the maximum of two years in between third-party inventories will reset.

Producer inventories are conducted in the years when third-party inventories are not required. A producer inventory may identify the cervids by the use of unique identification devices (such as dangle tags) which are visible at a distance. If for any reason a cervid cannot be identified by viewing the identification device at a distance, the cervid must be identified accurately using another identification device. The producer inventory may be conducted by the owner/cervid farm operator, but the reconciliation of the records must be verified by the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian, or provincial/territorial CWD HCP staff. A record of this verification must be included in the annual report.

4.1.2 Annual inspection

Inspections will be conducted annually by an accredited veterinarian or official veterinarian. This role may also be filled by trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the CWD HCP department (e.g. game farm inspectors, etc.). This will include visual inspection of the premises, observing the general health of the herd, verifying compliance to all regional CWD HCP requirements, and verifying reconciliation of the inventory. The inspection of the premises includes an assurance of the integrity of the perimeter fences. This assurance can be an inspection of the perimeter fences by the accredited veterinarian or official veterinarian or an approved third party, but it may also come from an attestation by the owner/cervid farm operator (see section 4.4.2 Fencing).

The inspection is required as part of the annual report. All elements of the inspection are also required in the years when a third-party inventory is due. The annual inspection must take place within three months of the anniversary date.

4.1.3 Annual reports

The annual report, which is signed by both the owner/cervid farm operator and the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian or by trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the CWD HCP department, is submitted to the status assessor, and includes the annual inspection report (see section 4.1.2 Annual inspection), a reconciliation of the inventories (see also sections 3.10 Records and 4.1.1 Inventories), supporting documentation for cervids that have moved on and off the premises (see also section 3.10 Records), necessary laboratory reports (see section 4.2.1 Annual surveillance requirements), perimeter fences report or attestation (see section 4.4.2 Fencing), and any other supporting documentation.

A reconciliation of the inventories lists the following:

  • identification of each cervid on the premises at the time of the inventory. All cervids of every age must be on the inventory
  • all identification devices placed on each cervid, including the current calf or fawn crop and any cervids that have lost identification devices
  • all cervids that have entered or left the premises (for any reason) since the last inventory
  • the status of the herd of origin for those cervids entering the premises
  • all deaths, including identification tag/device number(s)
  • the destination of every cervid that moved off the premises as established by a bill of sale or, if the cervid has not been sold, a signed document showing the destination of the cervid;Footnote 1 and
  • appropriate laboratory results (CWDtesting)

The report must be forwarded to the status assessor within three months of the anniversary date.

In all cases, the owner/cervid farm operator is ultimately responsible for clarifying any inventory or inspection questions or concerns that may arise during the course of the review of the annual report by the status assessor.

4.2 CWD surveillance testing in herd

4.2.1 Annual surveillance requirements

Testing is the most important Program pillar to estimate the CWD status of the herd.

Owners/cervid farm operators are required to submit samples from 100% of cervids 12 months of age and older that die, are humanely euthanized, or hunted on farm for CWD testing, in order to advance or remain certified. Beginning January 1, 2018, the requirement to submit samples for CWD testing will also include 50% of any cervids on the premises slaughtered at any abattoir (including US abattoirs) or on farm. January 1, 2019 the slaughter requirement for CWD testing will increase to 75%, and January 1, 2020 the slaughter requirement for CWD testing will increase to 100%. The sale of cervids to a hunt farm is similar to any other cervid sale.

If a required sample is missed, an owner/cervid farm operator at levels E – A has the option to sacrifice two other adult (12 months of age and older) cervids from the herd for every sample that is missed in order to meet requirements to advance. An owner/cervid farm operator at the certified level has the option to sacrifice one other adult (12 months of age and older) cervid from the herd for every sample that is missed in order to meet the requirements to maintain certified level. The sacrificed cervids must be a similar cohort to the sample that was missed. The test result from a cervid of the same cohort that has been slaughtered in the previous three months can be used to fulfil the sacrifice requirement.

The sacrifice option may be used only sporadically.

Missed samples that can be neither exempted (as per section 4.2.6) nor replaced by the above sacrifice option may be considered as missed submissions, at the discretion of the status assessor.

4.2.2 Sample submission

The head of the cervid may be submitted directly to a CFIA-approved laboratory by the owner/cervid farm operator; alternatively, a certified CWD sample collector may collect tissue samples for submission to a CFIA-approved laboratory. In all cases, heads or tissue samples should be chilled or frozen immediately upon being found. The owner/cervid farm operator or certified CWD sample collector should contact the laboratory in advance of submitting a head/tissue sample. The head of the cervid must bear all identification in situ. All samples must be accompanied by identification.

If the dead cervid is not found immediately, or the certified CWD sample collector or the laboratory are not available within 36 hours of death, the head of the cervid must be frozen and submitted in a timely manner as a frozen specimen. Freezing enables the CWD diagnostic test to be applied to the tissues that otherwise would no longer be suitable for testing.

Cervids 12 months and older which have died or been euthanized and are submitted to a laboratory for routine post-mortem diagnosis must be tested for CWD.

4.2.3 Unsuitable samples

Specimens must meet the requirements specified in the diagnostic protocol approved by the CFIA, which guarantees the reliability and accuracy of the results. Good-quality samples and complete collection of the obex and the retropharyngeal lymph nodes (RPLN) from dead cervids are essential for successful surveillance. Owners/cervid farm operators are responsible for ensuring that the tissue samples are of good quality, and that all required samples and identification are submitted.

If an unsuitable specimen is received, the receiving laboratory is to notify the submitter. A follow-up of the details of the individual situation will be undertaken by the status assessor. If negligence on the part of the owner/cervid farm operator is identified as the cause, or this occurrence is repeated, then the CWD HCP requirements are considered to have not been met and the herd is to be suspended.

The following are examples of poor-quality, untestable samples:

  • the sample/head is severely autolyzed (putrified)
  • the wrong portion of the brain was submitted, or something other than the whole brain/obex was submitted
  • the skull/head was submitted, but no testable tissue was present
  • the sample is not testable for other reasons (i.e. no identification, etc.)

When a head is presented to a certified CWD sample collector but there is no brain tissue to sample or no identification, the certified CWD sample collector will provide the owner/cervid farm operator with a letter certifying that the head was submitted but a sample could not be forwarded for testing, with an explanation of why a sample could not be forwarded for testing.

Sacrifices cannot be used to overcome the repeated submission of poor quality samples. If the status assessor determines that there has been negligence on the part of the owner/cervid farm operator, the herd is to be suspended, notwithstanding section 4.2.1 Annual surveillance requirements.

4.2.4 Specimens submitted and tissues tested

The obex and the RPLN must both be submitted for all farmed cervids tested for CWD.

The obex of the medulla is the primary target tissue tested for all members of the family Cervidae, such as elk, red deer, reindeer/caribou, sika deer, fallow deer, moose and any hybrids (with the exception of members of the genus Odocoileus).

The RPLN is the primary target tissue tested for Odocoileus species, including white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer, mule deer and any hybrids.

The additional submitted tissues will be frozen and held by the laboratory until the initial test is completed.

If moribund cervids are humanely destroyed on farm by a gunshot to the head, the recipient lab must sample and test for CWD, both the whole brain and one lymph node from the head (mandibular or retropharyngeal) or, if no lymph node is available, the whole brain and one tonsil.

4.2.5 Results of analysis on samples submitted

The standard test for the CWD HCP must be the test currently recognized by the CFIA as an appropriate screening test. Currently it is the Bio-Rad ELISA, and reporting must reflect this.

Results of analysis on samples submitted for CWD testing via Bio-Rad ELISA are to be reported as follows:

Tested: CWD not detected

Where the specimen submitted contained the correct target tissue for the species being tested, the sample should be reported as follows: "Bio-Rad ELISA was negative for disease specific PrP (PrPCWD). Based on the tissue available for testing, this cervid was unlikely to have died from CWD."

Tested: CWD not detected in secondary target tissue

Where the specimen submitted did not contain the primary target tissue identified for the species being tested, the sample should be reported as follows: "Bio-Rad ELISA was negative for disease specific PrP (PrPCWD). Based on the tissue available for testing, this cervid was unlikely to have died from CWD."

This may include the following:

  • samples from white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer, mule deer and any hybrids where the RPLN was not submitted, but the obex and/or the whole brain is available for testing;
  • samples from elk, red deer, fallow deer, Sika deer, reindeer/caribou, moose and any hybrids where the obex was not submitted, but the RPLN or other areas of the brain is available for testing.
Submitted: Unsuitable for testing

Where the specimen submitted did not have identifiable whole brain/obex or RPLN tissue available for testing, the sample should be reported as follows: "Submitted: Unsuitable for testing." This should be followed with an explanation as to the cause for this result, as per section 4.2.3 Unsuitable samples.

Note

For the purposes of testing under the CWD HCP, samples being reported as “Tested: CWD not detected” will be considered suitable when the herd is assessed for advancement within the CWD HCP.

Samples being reported as “Tested: CWD not detected in secondary target tissue” will be considered as suitable when a herd is assessed for advancement within the CWD HCP if it happens only sporadically. If primary target tissue is missed repeatedly, a follow-up of the details of the individual situation will be undertaken by the status assessor. If negligence on the part of the owner/cervid farm operator is identified as the cause, or this occurrence is repeated, then CWD HCP requirements are considered to have not been met and the herd is to be suspended.

4.2.6 Exemptions from submission of heads

The status assessor should consider the following as automatic exemptions from the requirement to submit, unless the status assessor suspects that the conditions set out were not met or that the exemption is being abused to the detriment of the CWD HCP:

  • destruction of cervids (including stored heads/samples) by fire: a certificate or letter from an appropriate official must accompany the annual report
  • the destruction or carrying away of the head of a cervid by a predator: a certificate or letter from an appropriate wildlife officer or other government official responsible for investigating such incidents must accompany the annual report
  • theft: a report from the police officer who investigates the theft must accompany the annual report
  • loss or destruction of the head/tissue sample that is no longer in the control of the owner/cervid farm operator (e.g. by an accredited veterinarian, courier or laboratory) (Recognized laboratories should note on reception of the specimen that the obex, RPLN or other appropriate tissue samples are not present and the reason why. A letter setting out the details of the loss of the sample by the individual responsible must accompany the annual report.)
  • any other reason (such as a flood), over which the owner/cervid farm operator could not reasonably be expected to have control that results in the destruction or disappearance of the head/tissue sample: a letter or report by an acceptable third party that sets out the details of the reason for failure to submit the sample must accompany the annual report (the status assessor may accept a picture (when available) of the cervid's head that clearly shows the identification device(s), preferably still in situ)

4.3 Limited entry

4.3.1 Live cervid introductions

An enrolled herd may introduce cervids from herds of equivalent or higher CWD HCP status level with no negative impact on the CWD HCP status of the recipient herd.

Documentation must be provided that enables the status assessor and the owner/cervid farm operator to determine the CWD risk status/CWD HCP status of the herd of origin at the time of transfer of the animal.

4.3.2 Sources of equivalent or higher level of CWD risk

Introduction of cervids from the following sources will have no impact on the status level:

  • from Canadian herds registered in a CWD HCP at an equivalent or higher status level; or
  • from a country the CFIA recognizes as being free from CWD; or
  • from a herd registered (on the date of import) at an equivalent or higher level in a country/region/zone of origin's CWD herd certification program that the CFIA has assessed as meeting or exceeding the National Standards

4.3.3 Downgrading due to introductions

If cervids from herds of a lower status level are introduced, the status level of the recipient herd will be downgraded to that of the herd of origin of the lowest level. If cervids from a non-participating herd are introduced, the status level of the recipient herd will be reduced to level E.

Co-mingling (even temporarily) with cervids from non-participating cervid herds or herds of a lower CWD HCP status will result in downgrading of the status level to that of the lowest level herd (level E if cervids are co-mingled with cervids from a non-participating herd).

4.3.4 Germplasm

Embryos may only be sourced from herds of equivalent or higher status. Semen may be sourced from cervids in non-participating herds or herds of any status level, with no impact on the status level of the recipient herd, provided that, on the date of insemination, the cervid donor is not CWD positive or a CWD-exposed cervid.

4.4 Biosecurity

4.4.1 Site plan

The site plan must have a diagram that identifies all structures and grazing areas on a premises to which cervids are given access, and that are used to store feed for cervids. The location of water sources, proximity to other cervid herds and location of fences must also be included.

A site plan must be submitted with the initial application when establishing a herd and with the annual report whenever changes to the premises have occurred.

4.4.2 Fencing

Perimeter fencing must be present around the herd. Fences must be maintained in a manner to prevent intrusion (ingress) or escape (egress) of cervids, and must meet any provincial or territorial requirements (if applicable).

As part of the annual inspection, there must be assurance of the integrity of the fences. This assurance can be an inspection of the perimeter fences by the accredited veterinarian or official veterinarian or an approved third party. Alternately, the fences can be inspected by the owner/cervid farm operator. When an owner/cervid farm operator attests to the fence integrity they must provide a signed document that they have checked all the fences within the previous three months and that the fences meet the requirements of the CWD HCP. The document must be attached to the annual report and include pictures where deemed necessary.

For herds established after May 1, 2017, the fences must be a minimum of 2.4 meters high (8 feet).

4.4.3 Feed storage

All feed must be stored in a manner that renders it is inaccessible to wild cervids. If feed for a CWD HCP herd is grown on a separate area of the premises, bales must be brought inside fences as soon as possible after baling so that wild cervids do not have an opportunity to feed on, salivate in, and defecate or urinate on or near the feed that is going to be fed to CWD HCP herds. Bins for concentrates, such as grain, must be secured and stored in a manner that any feed is inaccessible to wild cervids.

In areas of Canada where CWD exists in the wild, owners/cervid farm operators enrolled in a CWD HCP must take steps that address the highest-risk areas of crop fields that will be used for feed grain. When grain crops in the high-risk areas are swathed, they must be combined as soon as possible to prevent wild cervids from defecating, salivating or urinating on the swaths. This should not be a problem for standing grain crops that are straight combined. Screenings sourced from areas where CWD is known to exist in wild cervids are not to be fed to farmed cervids.

4.4.4 Water sourcing

CWD can potentially be transmitted through contaminated water sources. Standing bodies of water such as ponds, sloughs, dugouts and water troughs which could be used as a source of water for farmed cervids, must be inaccessible to wild cervids. At this time, running water such as streams or spring run-off has not been shown to have infective levels of CWD prion.

4.4.5 Taxidermy and carcasses

Carcasses or parts from wild cervids or farmed cervids with lower or no status under a CWD HCP are not permitted to be brought on to premises enrolled in a CWD HCP for processing or taxidermy. Field-dressed carcasses from wild cervids or farmed cervids with lower or no status may be brought onto the facility for personal use only, and only into areas where farmed cervids do not have access. Exemptions may be allowed on premises on which a separate processing facility (slaughter facility, taxidermy facility, etc.) is located, provided that the facility is physically separate, that live farmed cervids on the premises have no direct or indirect contact with the carcasses or parts, and that waste materials are disposed of in a manner that it is inaccessible to farmed and wild cervids.

4.4.6 Disinfection of vehicles

Transportation vehicles can be a significant source of indirect transmission of CWD to farmed cervids. Owners/cervid farm operators must work with their accredited veterinarians to develop a cleaning and disinfection protocol to mitigate this transmission risk. Documentation of the protocol and its implementation must be maintained and submitted in the annual report. Photos can be used as a record that a vehicle was properly cleaned, and a statement from the individual who disinfected a vehicle will be a record of disinfection.

The vehicle cleaning and disinfection protocol must detail situations when contamination may occur and which parts of a vehicle must be cleaned and disinfected. The following gives some principles to be taken into consideration. This list is not exhaustive.

  • The exterior of vehicles can be contaminated when in the same place as cervids of lower or unknown status or vehicles from cervid farms of lower or unknown status
  • The interior of trailers can be contaminated whenever cervids of lower or unknown status are transported in the trailer or by personnel movements into a vehicle

When cleaning and disinfection is required, vehicles need to be thoroughly cleaned (power washed or scrubbed with low pressure water, detergent and a brush) of all visible organic material and disinfected (see "Disinfection" in section 5 Definitions).

Note that mixed loads of farmed cervids of different CWD HCP status (or no status) can only occur if all the cervids are going directly to slaughter. Whenever a vehicle containing cervids of lower or unknown status enters the premises, any organic matter (especially feces and urine) that escapes from the vehicle must be collected and disposed of in a manner that prevents farmed cervids on the premises being exposed to this material.

4.4.7 Acquisition of previously owned equipment

CWD can potentially be transmitted via contaminated equipment. This is especially pertinent when purchasing previously owned equipment, including handling facilities, from a cervid farm. Any equipment that has been exposed to cervids of a lower or unknown status level must be thoroughly disinfected (see "Disinfection" in section 5 Definitions) before entering the premises.

Parts of equipment that cannot be thoroughly disinfected must be replaced. Porous materials such as wood, leather, fabric, fibers and foam, must be removed before disinfection and replaced with new materials. Equipment in poor repair may develop features, such as tears and cracks, that could trap organic material. Any such features must be removed or repaired prior to disinfection.

If previously owned equipment has been acquired, appropriate documentation must be maintained and submitted in the annual report. Examples of relevant documents include bills of sale, documents indicating the nature of the source operation (specifically regarding the presence of cervids on the premises), status level certificates from the herd of origin, and/or disinfection attestations.

The following are additional biosecurity measures that can be used in regional CWD HCPs in areas where CWD has been detected:

4.4.8 Record keeping and administration

Keep visitor logs that record the movement of all people and vehicles onto and off the premises.

Provide personnel training (i.e. a written and verbal on-farm program to educate, train and re-train all workers and family members), ensuring knowledge of all biosecurity principles and compliance with practices used on-farm.

4.4.9 Minimizing direct (cervid-to-cervid) transmission of CWD

Inspect the perimeter fences at least four times per year (or sooner if a problem is noticed) to ensure that they are intact.

Have other mechanisms in place to deter wild cervids from entering the premises (e.g. provide protection with dogs, keep feeding and watering stations away from perimeter fences, add one strand of electric fence outside the perimeter fences, or install other double-fencing equivalent options).

4.4.10 Minimizing indirect transmission of CWD

Use all disposable equipment only once (e.g. needles, syringes, gloves).

Clean and disinfect all other non-disposable equipment that comes into contact with bodily fluids (e.g. velveting tools), as per the definition in Section 5 Definitions.

Avoid bringing products or by-products of cervid origin onto the farm (e.g. cervid origin supplements for velvet growth, attractants, baits, tissues or carcasses).

Have dedicated equipment for use only on the enrolled farm (e.g. dedicated clean boots and coveralls for visitors only and separate ones for employees).

Protect feed from contamination by having a rodent-control program in place. (Rodents can ingest and shed prions.)

Bring in feed from reliable sources only.

5. Definitions

Accredited veterinarian
A veterinarian who is not employed by the federal government, is licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Canada, and is accredited by the CFIA or the appropriate regional administrator's provincial/territorial government (where a provincial/territorial accreditation process exists) to perform inspections, tests and other activities required for program delivery functions of the CWD HCPs. [Vétérinaire accrédité]
Anniversary date
Date of the official acceptance onto a CWD HCP. The status assessor reviews the application and assigns an anniversary date and a herd level upon official acceptance to a CWD HCP, and will use the same selection criteria for all enrolled owners/cervid farm operators in a region. [Date anniversaire]
Annual inspection

The annual inspection will be conducted annually by an accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian, or by trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the CWD HCP department (e.g. game farm inspectors, etc.). An annual inspection will include visual inspection of the premises, observing the general health of the herd, verifying compliance to all regional CWD HCP requirements, and verifying reconciliation of the inventory. The inspection of the premises includes an assurance of the integrity of the perimeter fences. This assurance can be an inspection of the perimeter fences by the accredited veterinarian or official veterinarian or an approved third party, but it may also come from an attestation by the owner/cervid farm operator (see section 4.4.2 Fencing).

The inspection is required as part of the annual report. [Inspection annuelle]

Annual report
The annual report is the responsibility of the owner/cervid farm operator. It is submitted to the status assessor, and includes the annual inspection report (see section 4.1.2 Annual inspection), a reconciliation of the inventories (see sections 3.10 Records, 4.1.1 Inventories, and 4.1.3 Annual report), supporting documentation for cervids that have moved on and off the premises (see sections 3.10 Records and 4.1.3 Annual report), necessary laboratory reports (see section 4.2.1 Annual inspection), perimeter fences inspection report or attestation (see section 4.4.2 Fencing), and any other supporting documentation. The annual report is signed by both the owner/cervid farm operator and the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian, or by trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the CWD HCP department (e.g. game farm inspectors, etc.) who verified the report. [Rapport annuel]
Approved third party
An individual who is not the owner/cervid farm operator, is at arm's length with the owner/cervid farm operator and is approved by the regional administrator as an eligible Program deliverer, and who is trained and qualified to deliver certain aspects of a CWD HCP. Approved third parties may include staff of a provincial/territorial department or agency, an animal health technician who is registered under the appropriate provincial licensing body and supervised by an accredited veterinarian, or a CFIA veterinarian or inspector. [Tiers approuvé]
Biosecurity
A set of practices used to minimize the transmission of CWD in farmed cervid populations including its introduction and spread within the population.[Biosécurité]
Certified CWD Sample Collector
An individual who has completed appropriate training recognized by his or her regional administrator on the collection and preservation of samples for CWD testing and on proper recordkeeping, and is certified by his or her regional administrator to perform these activities for farmed cervids for the purposes of a CWD HCP. A certified CWD sample collector may be an approved third party or a cervid farm operator. He/she must operate at arm's length from the owner/cervid farm operator and may not collect samples from his/her own animals. A certified CWD sample collector is responsible for ensuring that, for all cervids presented for sample collection, all identification devices have been verified in situ. [Personne agréée responsable du prélèvement des échantillons à l'égard de la MDC]
Cervid
Any member of the Cervidae family including any hybrids considered at risk to CWD including, but not limited to, mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni), red deer (Cervus elaphus elaphus), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus), fallow deer (Dama dama), Sika deer (Cervus nippon), Manchurian Sika deer (Cervus nippon), reindeer/caribou (Rangifer tarandus), Muntjac deer (Muntiacus reevesi), and moose (Alces alces shirasi). [Cervidé]
Cervid farm operator
A person who is licensed (where applicable), under the relevant cervid farm regulations (where applicable) to operate a cervid farm. [Exploitant de ferme de cervidés]
CFIA
Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which serves as the national administrator for the CWD HCPs. [ACIA]
CFIA-approved laboratory
A laboratory that is part of the National TSE Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Network (NTSE-VDLN) and that meets the quality assurance requirements for approved CWD tests. [Laboratoire approuvé par l'ACIA]
Cohort
A group of cervids with close or similar types of experiences. Animals in the same cohort will be the same age, will have been on the premises for the same length of time, kept in the same enclosures, fed the same feed and accessed the same water supplies. A sacrificed animal should be, as much as possible, from the same cohort as the missed-sample animal. [Cohorte]
Co-mingled cervids
Cervids are considered co-mingled if they have physical contact with each other, including through fences or pen separations, as well as indirect contact such as shared equipment, pasture, or the same water source. Co-mingling also includes sharing the same section in a transportation unit where physical contact can occur. Cervids having had contact with a CWD-positive cervid or CWD-positive premises within the last 60 months are also considered to have co-mingled. [Cervidés regroupés]
Contiguous
Premises which share common boundaries and where co-mingling of farmed cervids can occur between the two premises. [Aire contiguë]
CFIA CWD Disease Control Program
The program or policy developed for the control of CWD in farmed cervids and in cervids maintained in zoos and collections, and which is governed by the Health of Animals Act and the Health of Animals Regulations. [Programme de lutte contre la MDC de l'ACIA]
CWD-exposed cervid
A cervid that has co-mingled with a CWD-positive cervid within the last 60 months. [Cervidé exposé à la MDC]
CWD-exposed herd
A herd that has co-mingled with a CWD-exposed cervid. [Troupeau exposé à la MDC]
CWD-positive cervid
A cervid for which official CWD-positive results were reported by the CFIA's National and OIE Reference Laboratory for CWD. [Cervidé positif à l'égard de la MDC]
CWD-positive herd
A farmed cervid herd in which one or more CWD-positive cervids reside. [Troupeau positif à l'égard de la MDC]
CWD-positive premises
The premises on which a CWD-positive herd resides. [Lieux positifs à l'égard de la MDC]
CWD HCP
Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Certification Programs, regional voluntary programs established and maintained to reduce the occurrence and spread of CWD in farmed cervid herds, and to identify herds that have been free of evidence of CWD over specific time periods. [PCT pour la MDC]
Disinfection

Involves the procedures used to inactivate the CWD prion. Bleach (sodium hypochlorite) or sodium hydroxide are the only chemical disinfectants that are effective against prions. All organic material must first be thoroughly removed by cleaning and washing with hot water and detergent. After the surface is dry, the disinfectant is applied using low pressure. Surfaces and equipment should be left wet (or soaking) with sodium hypochlorite or sodium hydroxide for at least 1 hour at 20°C, and then thoroughly rinsed with water.

  • Sodium hypochlorite is used at a concentration of 2% available chlorine. This solution can be prepared from industrial grade or commercially available bleach. For example, most commercially available bleaches have a concentration of 6% available chlorine. A mix of one part 6% bleach and two parts water will provide a concentration of 2% available chlorine.
  • Sodium hydroxide is used at a concentration of 2 molar.

The use of rubber gloves and safety goggles or a full face shield is recommended. [Désinfection]

Enrolled Herd
A cervid herd enrolled in a CWD HCP. [Troupeau inscrit]
Herd
One or more cervids that are under common ownership or supervision and are raised on any single premises or on two or more premises that are geographically separated (i.e. by road, stream, etc.), but on which cervids have direct or indirect contact with each other through handling or co-mingling. [Troupeau]
Non-negative sample
Any CWD sample tested using Bio-Rad ELISA or immunohistochemistry in a CFIA-approved laboratory where a negative test result is not obtained. These samples are then forwarded to CFIA's National and OIE Reference Laboratory for CWD for confirmatory testing. [Échantillon non négatif]
Obex
The specific area of the brain required for testing using Bio-Rad ELISA or immunohistochemistry for the earliest detection of CWD in all cervids, with the exception of members of the Cervidae family of the genus Odocoileus including mule deer, white-tailed deer, and their hybrids. [Obex]
Official identification device
A provincial/territorial government-approved identification device (where applicable), a CFIA official identification device, or an approved method of identification from a national cervid traceability program. [Dispositif d'identification official]
Official veterinarian
A veterinarian employed within a provincial/territorial department responsible for the administration of the regional CWD HCP. [Vétérinaire official]
Owner
An individual, partnership, company, corporation or other legal entity that has legal or rightful title to a cervid or a herd of cervids, regardless of any liens held on the cervid(s). [Propriétaire]
Premises
For the purposes of a CWD HCP, the ground, area, buildings and equipment occupied by, or used for, a farmed cervid herd, and enclosed by perimeter fencing. [Lieux]
Previously CWD-infected premises
A premises that previously contained a CWD-positive herd. Generally, this would be the premises of residence of a depopulated CWD-positive herd. If any cervids of the CWD-positive herd still reside on the premises, the premises is a CWD-positive premises. [Lieux qui ont déjà été contaminés par la MDC]
Producer inventory
The producer inventory will identify all cervids on the premises in the years when a third-party inventory is not required. A producer inventory may identify the cervids by the use of unique identification devices (such as dangle tags) which are visible at a distance. If for any reason a cervid cannot be identified by viewing the identification device at a distance, the cervid must be identified accurately using another identification device. The producer inventory may be performed by the owner/cervid farm operator, but the reconciliation of records must be verified by the accredited veterinarian, an official veterinarian, or trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the CWD HCP department. Cervids under 12 months of age must be counted and recorded on the inventory, but they do not require unique identifiers. [Inventaire effectué par un producteur]
Prohibited material
No person shall feed prohibited material to a ruminant (Health of Animals Regulations, s.164). Prohibited material includes anything that is, or that contains any, protein that originated from a mammal other than: a porcine or equine; milk or products of milk; gelatin derived exclusively from hides or skins or products of gelatin derived exclusively from hides or skins; blood or products of blood; or rendered fats derived from ruminants, that contain no more than 0.15% insoluble impurities or their products. Prohibited material that has been treated in a manner approved by the Minister to inactivate the agents that cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathies is no longer prohibited material. (HAR, s. 162) [Substances interdites]
Retropharyngeal lymph node (RPLN)
A lymph node of the head that can be used for the earliest detection of CWD in members of the Cervidae family of the genus Odocoileus including mule deer, white-tailed deer, and their hybrids. [Nœuds lymphatiques rétropharyngiens (NLRP)]
Slaughter
Cervids slaughtered on-farm, or slaughtered at a provincial/territorial or federally inspected abattoir. Farmed cervids slaughtered on an emergency basis require sampling. [Abattage]
Status certificate
Document issued by the regional administrator, specifying the location and status of the herd, and indicating the date of issue. [Certificat de statut]
Status level
The level of participation achieved and officially recognized by the status assessor and the CFIA in a CWD HCP. [Niveau de statut]
Suspended herd
A suspended herd retains its enrolment in a CWD HCP, but has no officially recognized status level during the suspension, including for the purposes of export or domestic trade with other herds participating in a CWD HCP. [Troupeau suspend]
Suspension
The removal of the risk-mitigation status of a herd under a CWD HCP. While a herd is suspended, it remains enrolled, but has no officially recognized status level (E, D, C, B, A or certified). All suspensions are intended to be temporary measures. [Suspension]
Third-party inventory
Third-party inventories are conducted at least every two years, and are conducted by the accredited veterinarian, an official veterinarian or an approved third party (as per section 1.4 Program delivery). The third-party inventory will identify all cervids on the premises. During the third-party inventory, all live cervids 12 months of age and older (and any stored dead cervid heads/samples) must be individually inspected and all identification devices, including any official devices, must be recorded. Any cervids showing signs of ill-health must be examined by the veterinarian for clinical symptoms of CWD. If identification cannot be verified visually, the cervid(s) must be restrained for verification. Cervids under 12 months of age must be counted and recorded on the inventory, but they do not require unique identifiers. The third-party inventory findings are reconciled in the herd's inventory records. [Inventaire effectué par un tiers]
Date modified: