Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Emergency Public Hearing

March 11, 2002

Adult Learning Center
2809 Broadway
San Antonio, Texas
 
	BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 11th day of March 
2002, there came to be heard matters under the regulatory 
authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, at the 
Adult Learning Center, 2809 Broadway, San Antonio, Texas, 
beginning at 10:00 a.m. to wit:

APPEARANCES:
THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:

CHAIRMAN:    Katharine Armstrong Idsal, San Antonio, Texas
VICE CHAIR:  Ernest Angelo, Jr., Midland, Texas
             John Avila, Jr., Fort Worth, Texas 
             Joseph Fitzsimons, San Antonio, Texas
             Al Henry, Houston, Texas (absent)
             Philip Montgomery, III, Dallas, Texas (absent)
             Donato D. Ramos, Laredo, Texas
             Kelly W. Rising, M.D., Beaumont, Texas
             Mark E. Watson, Jr., San Antonio, Texas

THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARMENT:
Robert L. Cook, Executive Director, and other personnel of the 
Parks and Wildlife Department

OTHER APPEARANCES:

Karl Kinsel, Executive Director
Texas Deer Association
5401Bandera
San Antonio, TX  78767

Kirby Brown
Texas Wildlife Association
401 Isom Road
San Antonio, TX  

Jerry Johnston
POB 1203
Castroville, TX  78001

Gary Machen -  (Passed)

David Langford
Texas Wildlife Association
San Antonio, TX

Bill Eikenhorn – (Passed)

John Harwood
Chairman of the Board
Exotic Wildlife Association

10:00 a.m.

*  *  *  *

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Good morning – thank you for being here.  
I'd like to call to order this emergency meeting of the Texas 
Parks and Wildlife Commission.  Before we begin I believe Mr. 
Cook has a statement to make.  

MR. COOK:  Thank you Madame Chairman.  A public notice of 
this meeting containing all items on the proposed agenda has 
been filed in the Office of the Secretary of State as required 
by Chapter 551, Government Code, referred to as "The Open 
Meetings Law."  I would like for this action to be noted in the 
official record of this meeting.
So that everyone will have a chance to address the 
Commission in an orderly fashion, the following ground rules 
will be followed:  the Chairman is in charge of this meeting and 
by law it is her duty to preserve order, direct the order of the 
hearing and recognize persons to be heard.  I will be assisting 
the Chairman and I think you all know about my little handy 
dandy timer clock here that allows everybody about three minutes 
to make your comment.
Each person who wishes to speak, hopefully, you will have 
signed up on one of our cards so that we will be able to 
recognize you; if you have not I will recommend that you do so.  
You should come to the podium one at a time when your name is 
called, state your name, who you represent, and if anyone other 
than yourself, then state your position on the agenda item under 
consideration and add supporting facts that will help the 
Commission understand your concerns.  Please limit your remarks 
to the specific agenda item under consideration.  As I mentioned 
you will have three minutes to speak.  If you have any written 
materials you would like to submit, please give them to Lori 
Estrada, to my right, and she will give them to the Commission.  
Thank you.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 1.  CERVID IMPORTATION ISSUES.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you Mr. Cook.  Our first and only 
order of business is an emergency action item pertaining to 
cervid importation.  Dr. Jerry Cooke will you make a 
presentation, please?

DR. COOKE:  Madame Chairman and members.  My name is Jerry 
Cooke.  I'm the Game Branch Chief of the Wildlife Division and I 
am here to speak to you on this emergency action related to 
cervid importation.  
This emergency action is justified based on three 
unforeseen events.  Events that could not have been dealt with 
in our normal regulatory process.  Number one unforeseen event 
was the unprecedented acceleration of importation of white-tail 
deer into this state.  In the previous two months as January and 
February, importation increased over 150 percent from the same 
period of time last year and actually constituted over 50 
percent of the total number of animals that were moved into the 
state from last year.  This is – I assume – in response to the 
action that was taken at the January meeting and our discussion 
relating to the concerns that we have for the safety of the 
wildlife species of this state.
The second unforeseen event was the confirmed outbreak of 
free-ranging chronic wasting disease in white-tail deer in the 
state of Wisconsin.  This represents over 900-mile jump from the 
nearest case of this disease in the United States.  These were 
found from hunter killed deer taken this last hunting season and 
it has not been found elsewhere in the state yet; however, I am 
sure their investigations are going to be considerably expanded 
from where they are now.  At the moment, they have a 10-mile 
circle of quarantine – no animals in or out of that circle 
related to that hunting unit in southern Wisconsin.
The third unforeseen event is the importation of 16 white-
tail deer into the state of Texas from this portion of the state 
of Wisconsin.  The imminent threat to the white-tail deer 
resource in Texas is relatively obvious.  The importation of 
this disease into the state is something that we have all tried 
to avoid, hoped would never occur, and hopefully has not 
occurred.  However, the imminent threat to the white-tail deer 
of Texas from this type of importation is relatively clear.  
There is no instance, there is no demonstrated proof that 
chronic-wasting disease can in fact infect humans.  However, 
there is also no evidence that suggests that this is not the 
case.
Using England as our example the outbreak of bovine 
spongiform encephalothaphy in that country was very well 
documented.  Everyone knows about that -- it was a big deal.  
It's found in many, many countries now - across the world.  What 
was unforeseen at that time is the fact that a human variant of 
bovine spongiform encephalothaphy would occur and it did in fact 
cross over from livestock in England to human cases.  There's 
always been a human form of the disease, it's always persisted 
as a background – event across the world at about a 1 percent 
rate.  This human variant -- significantly is more virulent -- 
there's been 114 cases of human variant form in England, 
Ireland, and France ---all associated with and corresponding to 
the same time in which the bovine cases were pandemic.  As I 
said there's no proof that -- that chronic wasting disease form 
of this encephalothaphy would cross over into humans, but 
there's no suggestion and no evidence that it would not, either.  
So, because of this unknown and because of this condition as 
well we think that there is an imminent threat to human health 
and safety and welfare as well -- both of which constitute 
justification for an emergency action on your part.
The action that we would suggest is aimed specifically at 
the Wisconsin event.  However, suspending importation of deer 
from the State of Wisconsin does not preclude the importation of 
Wisconsin deer from another State as an indirect route – so 
therefore if in fact we are going to be certain -- that no 
infected animals from either Colorado or Nebraska or Wisconsin 
enter the State of Texas is to simply suspend importation of 
white-tail deer and mule deer into this state.
Do you have any questions?

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you Jerry -- is there any discussion 
by the Commission?

COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  First of all, I think that we went 
through this at our last meeting, but it might be good to bring 
it, bring it back to the front, and that is that the biggest 
problem with this disease is that there's no live test for it – 
correct?

DR. COOKE:  Well, the biggest problem is there's no 
treatment for it – it's always fatal.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  You can't -- you can't test and 
certify that an animal doesn't have it without killing the 
animal – is that correct?

DR. COOKE:  You cannot – you cannot.  Correct -- that's 
correct.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  So these – these animals that were 
killed in Wisconsin were killed back in December maybe and 
they've just now gotten the results back?

DR. COOKE:  Because of the large number of animals that 
they were testing across their state they took a random spot 
check of hunter killed deer in all of their hunting units in 
Wisconsin and they've just now gotten to this portion of their 
samples.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  What – what do you think caused their 
concern to make them do that testing or is that something that 
they've been doing for quite a while?

DR. COOKE:  They've apparently been doing it for several 
years as a matter of routine.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Colorado is doing that I believe 
also.

DR. COOKE:  Yes.  It's – it's a relatively simple thing to 
do when you have check stations and a very, very short hunting 
season to simply take samples of animals as they come through 
your check station.  We have neither of those, check stations or 
short hunting seasons.

COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Jerry, do we do any of that testing?
DR. COOKE:  We have not tested for chronic wasting disease, 
no.   We are doing routine tests of hunter killed animals on 
several of our wildlife management areas and I think one of our 
state parks – related to our Public Hunting Program for 
tuberculosis, this is in conjunction with both the USDA and the 
Texas Animal Health Commission, we've been doing that for about 
4 years.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Jerry in connection with that can you 
give us a time line or a procedure that the Texas Animal Health 
Commission would – would take in addressing this issue, in other 
words – at first blush you would think it's an Animal Health 
Commission issue – do you know of any reason why there's been a 
time lag of any type here?

DR. COOKE:  Well the main thing has to do with their 
authority -- basically because we are talking about white-tail 
deer and mule deer in Texas, you as a Commission have authority 
to set rules related to possession.  The fact that the Animal 
Health Commission is dealing with livestock, they're dealing 
with private property and as such, they have to link their 
actions directly to a known risk – a demonstratable risk.  So 
for instance, when chronic wasting disease was found to be free-
ranging in the State of Colorado their Commission could take 
action related to that risk to embargo the State of Colorado at 
least temporarily.  What they currently have in their proposals 
that's in the Register at this time is two actions that would be 
useful in addressing this particular issue.  One is that they 
are going to require as an entry requirement into Texas any elk, 
white-tail, mule deer or black-tailed deer would have to come 
from a facility that had a chronic wasting disease monitoring 
program at the level of 3, which is, if you'll recall the 
briefing that Dr. Max Coats gave us earlier, that is to say that 
for 3 years all mortalities associated with that facility would 
be tested for chronic wasting disease and no chronic wasting 
disease has been found in any of those samples and no animal's 
been brought in from the outside during that intervening time.  
If that rule were to go into place, it would effect white-tail 
and mule deer in Texas as well as black-tailed deer and elk, 
these are the only four species that has been known to have this 
disease or been affected by this disease.
The second action that they have published currently is an 
action conveying their Commission's authority to their Executive 
Director to embargo a state pending their following action -- in 
other words the way their rules and their statutory authority is 
set up – their Executive Director has the authority to 
quarantine a ranch in Texas.  That quarantine is then confirmed 
by their Commission at their next appointed meeting so they 
don't meet very regularly, because their Executive Director has 
broad authority to speak in their behalf.  The action that they 
have published would expand that authority to go to other states 
as well, so for instance, were that authority in place, Dr. 
Logan, the Executive Director of the Animal Health Commission 
could read in the newspaper that there is confirmed white-tail 
deer -- chronic wasting disease in the State of Wisconsin, put 
the phone down -- pick up the -- put the paper down, pick up the 
phone and quarantine, but they don't have that authority at this 
time.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  So then as we speak here today what 
would be the earliest from a time standpoint when Texas Animal 
Health Commission could take any action?

DR. COOKE:  Probably May or June.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  And in the interim, we would be 
exposing or taking the risk of having additional white-tail deer 
exposed and coming into Texas -- so that's the reason for this 
emergency meeting?  

DR. COOKE:  Exactly.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  And, I believe you've said this 
before, but there is no cure -- there is no vaccine, there's no 
diagnosis for that disease short of killing the animal?

DR. COOKE:  Correct.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Now going back, you said deer could 
typically be moved from Wisconsin to Missouri.  Is there any way 
that you know of where we could effectively monitor the 
importation of deer when that happens?  In other words, so that 
we would say as part of the inquiry -- what is the original 
state of origin of this animal or  -- 

DR. COOKE:  No -- it would be – it would be virtually 
impossible for us.  We can suspend the use of a permit.  For 
instance a purchase permit or a transport permit for an animal 
coming from the State of Wisconsin, but if a Wisconsin animal 
were moved to Missouri, and then subsequently moved to Texas the 
permits would say it was coming from Missouri.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Do you have any data as to what it has 
cost or it could potentially cost this state, the State of 
Texas, to have that disease in this state?  I mean the expense 
and the cost to the taxpayers and the value of the herds also.

DR. COOKE:  No, I have not done a calculation of it, 
however, to think that it would not affect the cattle industry 
would be a little short sided.  Certainly, the hunting industry 
in the State of Texas would be affected.  If we use an example 
of the normal level of information that the public has, this 
recent anthrax outbreak that was in Uvalde, Kinney, and Edwards 
County -- we were receiving calls at the Parks and Wildlife 
Office from citizens concerned about driving on Hwy. 90 through 
a disease area.  Ahh – the impact on hunting in Texas would be 
inestimable, in my opinion.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Commissioner Fitzsimons.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Jerry, you and I've talked about 
this at great lengths, (inaudible) ground, I apologize.  Looking 
at this handout, 3rd page on the Wisconsin outbreak--first, of 
all, what CWD monitoring program if any does the State of 
Wisconsin have?  I mean obviously they've picked up these --

DR. COOKE:  They have no – they have no mandatory testing 
program at all.  They have a voluntary program, you know similar 
to the one we have here in Texas.  Apparently, in Wisconsin the 
elk farmers enjoy basically the same status they do here, and to 
my knowledge they have no real testing program.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Well, the mention of elk leads to 
my next question.  This would not -- this emergency action 
wouldn't in any way prohibit the importation of elk -- it's 
still the Animal Health Commission's jurisdiction.

DR. COOKE:  That's correct – absolutely.  The only action 
that we're taking here is related is to the scientific breeder 
program, which statutorily is limited to white-tail deer and 
mule deer.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  So elk will continue to be a 
threat until what Commissioner Ramos discussed is handled -- 

DR. COOKE:  Correct.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Alright -- the sixteen animals 
you mentioned, having been imported from the portion of 
Wisconsin where the outbreak occurred, that's since the first of 
the year?

DR. COOKE:  Correct.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Alright and looking at the map, I 
show ten almost adjacent to the outbreak that went to Colorado 
City, is that correct?

DR. COOKE:  Correct.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  And another six north of there, 
that's the portion, then we see another eleven and another 
thirty-two.  Are those just considered --

DR. COOKE:  Those are in the last two years.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Those are in the last two years?

COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  That's Colorado County.

DR. COOKE:  Let me see.  Colorado County.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Oh -- Colorado County?  

DR. COOKE:  Correct.  Also, bear in mind the State of 
Wisconsin is about the size of the Piney Woods so those 
distances are a lot closer on their map than it is on ours.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Yeah, this is not a real map.  
Thank you.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  I don't think I asked you this 
question.  Do you know where the state of the art is from a 
vaccine stand point, in other words is there a -- a medical 
solution that you're aware of anywhere, that -- to where we 
could implement that short of -- of taking a more aggressive 
action.  In other words – any type of vaccine – and if so, 
what's the state of the art in that regard?

DR. COOKE:  Commissioner Ramos, to be very honest with you, 
we don't even know how the disease works.  The creation of a 
vaccine, is absolutely incumbent on understanding how the 
disease arises, how the disease is passed between individuals 
and to short circuit that-- that transmission in some sort of 
way.  For example, viral diseases, the vaccines essentially 
create an immune response in an individual short of being 
infected by the actual pathogen.  Until chronic wasting disease 
is understood to the point that the process of the disease can 
be described, no vaccine is likely.  So at this moment, we have 
no knowledge on which to base any kind of treatment.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  There is no basis of one preventing it 
and then once you have it, the only solution is the death of 
that animal.

DR. COOKE:  Exactly.  Actually the work related to chronic 
wasting disease right now has been aimed at trying to diagnose 
it short of killing the animal.  That's where most of the 
research is right now.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  So even if you suspected an animal, 
the only way you could confirm it is by effectively killing the 
animal.

DR. COOKE:  Right.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Thank you.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Dr. Cooke, in my discussions with the 
Animal Health Commission there is -- they mentioned a test that 
sounded a little impractical, but I would like you to address 
never the less.  They said there is a way to remove tissue from 
the tonsil area and test it.  I think that's not a very 
practical approach, but I'd like you to address it.

DR. COOKE:  Actually, there are two diagnostic methods that 
are currently being worked on.  One is using the third eye lid, 
unfortunately white-tail deer don't have one of those.  So what 
is useful in some of the other exotic cervids -- the one that 
seems most promising at the moment with white-tail and mule deer 
is in fact a biopsy of the tonsil.  We don't know what the 
accuracy of that is yet.  However it is being tested in I think, 
Colorado and Wyoming -- stay tuned.  Basically, it wouldn't be 
as useful in diagnosing in a free ranging wild herd, but it 
could be quite useful in testing confined herds.  That's 
basically, what they're trying to aim it at.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Mr. Avila.

COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Dr. Cooke, what – if you look at the 
State of Oklahoma and there's 206 deer that are imported -- been 
imported to Texas and they have shown chronic waste disease in 
captive facilities --

DR. COOKE:  In a captive facility.

COMMISSIONER AVILA:  How does that happen?  I mean that's a  
-- I understand they're in captive facilities, but they're like 
a wild Kerr -- like our Kerr Wildlife Management Area -- they 
tested them and then -- or they've  been imported?

DR. COOKE:  No, this is actually an elk farmer, it is more 
or less a feed lot operation and in their normal testing of 
animals that was killed for venison chronic waste disease was 
found in one or more of those animals.  That's how it happened, 
it wasn't a hunting thing at all, it was --  see the exotic 
people actually have an advantage over our scientific breeders, 
in that they normally, routinely take animals for venison.  I 
mean that's why they are in the business and they go through 
normal health inspections.  They can test them for TB, they can 
test them for chronic wasting disease because the animal is 
already dead.  Our scientific breeders are essentially forbidden 
to kill animals in their facility.  And so -- you know, it's 
basically they're having to rely on a live test situation or as 
the Texas Animal Health Commission offered to our breeders, if 
they simply will test everything that dies in their pen, if it 
drowns in the trough, if it's caught in the gate, you know, if 
it falls out of the trailer, breaks its' neck.  If you test 
those animals for chronic wasting disease, at least some 
monitoring is taking place.

COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Do we know that – that those animals 
in Oklahoma are all elk or are there deer involved in that.

DR. COOKE:  No, they were all elk, it was only an elk thing 
in Oklahoma.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Excuse me – all elk?

DR. COOKE:  In Oklahoma, yes ma'am.

COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Well, you know, Jerry I think that if 
everybody understood a little bit better about how these deer 
are trafficking, you'd understand that it is impossible to pick 
a state, because the marketing if you wish of white-tail deer is 
done in a sometimes, semi -- you know -- clandestine fashion and 
they -- there's a sale example for that's gonna come up next 
month in Missouri and there's no telling where those deer come 
from, and so to pick a state would be useless and it's amazing 
to me that this hasn't shown up in Missouri, because Missouri is 
kind of almost the hot bed of trafficking, you know, in white-
tail deer and I've been as you know very, very concerned about 
this and I feel like that this action is absolutely imperative.

DR. COOKE:  Well as Dr. Coats pointed out when he briefed 
you I think in January, that basically there's one thing to say 
chronic wasting disease has not been seen in my state and it's 
another thing to say chronic wasting disease has seemed not to 
be in my state, and I think Missouri may be in that we ain't 
looking so we ain't found it.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Jerry, in addition to the potential 
damage to our herds, do you have any opinion or do you have any 
data as to how we might impact and would impact the hunting 
industry in Texas which is such a viable and such a strong 
industry?

DR. COOKE:  I have no data.  I can't visualize a scenario 
in which it would not impact hunting in Texas.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  What impact do you think it's had in 
Colorado to this point?  Elk hunting.

DR. COOKE:  Well, I don't hunt there, but I really don't 
know.  A lot of Colorado's hunting is out of state hunting and 
it's kind of like selling used cars, you know there's always – 
there's always a buyer.

MR. COOK:  Well, I think, - I think it's interesting on 
that comment, because mule deer populations in the western 
states you know declined in the late 60's, 70's and yet the elk 
populations have, -- have in those very same states increased 
dramatically during this same time frame.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  You talking about the wild herd?

MR. COOK:  Yes.

DR. COOKE:  Yes.

MR. COOK:  Yes.

DR. COOKE:  Yes.

DR. COOKE:  So we're not really talking about a heavy 
mortality rate on the animals that are here.  It's not wanting 
to have it in the wild herd.  Primarily because of the – the 
remote yet still possible cross over between deer and humans.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Commissioner Rising has a question – I 
believe.

COMMISSIONER RISING:  Mr. Cooke regarding these 16 deer 
that were recently brought into the state, who -- will we be 
following those animals or will it be the Animal Health 
Commission or is there a mechanism in place to --

DR. COOKE:  We follow all the animals that are in the 
scientific breeder program.  When they are bought and sold, if 
they die in a facility, that's part of the annual reporting 
process that is associated with having a scientific breeder 
permit.  As far as us taking action, no, that's not within our 
authority.  However, the Animal Health Commission finds that 
there is a case of chronic wasting disease in the facilities 
from which these animals were exported, then they would be 
quarantined under their rules and then there'd be --

COMMISSIONER RISING:  They won't be specifically watched 
for disease, I mean there's not a special mechanism in place.

DR. COOKE:  Not that I'm aware of, but again, it has to be 
based risk for them to take action.

COMMISSIONER RISING:  They have to find evidence in the 
facility.

DR. COOKE:  Correct.  They have to have a reasonable --  
reasonable cause, probable cause.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Commissioner Fitzsimons.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Sorry I'll delete into my follow 
up questions, I'll blame it on my new friend here.  Is there any 
process, as there is I know in the exotic industry into the USDA 
for restitution for the destruction of suspect animals?

DR. COOKE:  Actually at the last Animal Health Commission 
meeting that Mr. Cook and I both attended, there is some 
indication that the USDA is broadening the use of their 
indemnification that might include white-tail deer under these 
kinds of circumstances, but the mechanism would be through the 
USDA and through their Animal Health Commission.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Dr. Cooke, is it fair to say that the 
highest risk animal is the elk?

DR. COOKE:  The disease seems to be most common in 
facilities that have elk, I can say that, -- does it go more 
readily into elk than into white-tail or mule deer, I don't know 
that again, we don't really understand the process.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  We don't understand relative numbers 
between the two species or the various species.

DR. COOKE:  It has not actually been seen in white-tail 
deer previous to Nebraska, outside of a clinical -- a clinical 
situation, so obviously that's new to the game and now in 
Wisconsin so it's – this is a new disease, it's developing as we 
watch it.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Commissioner Angelo.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  That made me wonder if -- is it 
something that we're certain is new or is it possible that it's 
been there and we just hadn't -- it hadn't been detected?

DR. COOKE:  Well, as I said we don't understand prion 
diseases that's the A part, the B. part is scrapie in sheep is a 
prion disease, it's been known for over 300 years.  As far as it 
occurring in deer, the first cases don't go much further back 
than the 1980's.  1970's, 1980's and in Colorado in a facility 
that previously was a sheep research station maybe this was the 
first event of scrapie crossing over white-tail, but that's a 
pure speculation, it would be on my part, so it's a relatively – 
in deer it is a relative new disease, yes.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Are there any more questions?  
Commissioner Fitzsimons.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Just so I understand the 
recommendation before  us -- this rule would take affect 
immediately.

DR. COOKE:  This rule would take affect immediately upon 
filing with the Secretary of State, it would persist until it 
was rescinded or until it's superceded by another action.  Such 
an action would be an action in April, which is your permanent 
rule making process.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Thank you.

CHAIRMAIN IDSAL:  Any further questions from the 
Commission?  We have public comment.  I will call out the names 
of two people -- one to come and speak and the other to be 
prepared to speak.  Before I do that, I want to welcome Dr. 
Kelly Rising who is our new commissioner.  Thank you for coming.

COMMISSIONER RISING:  Thank you very much.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Baptism by fire here.  Welcome.  Our first 
speaker is Karl Kinsel and after Karl, Kirby Brown from TWA.

MR. KINSEL:  I'm Karl Kinsel, Executive Director of Texas 
Deer Association, and I speak on the behalf of TDA, we support 
all the comments and the recommended actions here today, same as 
we supported the proposal of these things back on February 7, 
2002.  I guess what we would like to ask here in public comment 
is that Michigan deer breeders as well as a lot of others 
suffered greatly when this was discovered and the Michigan deer 
breeders took the bulk of the heat of it which was later 
discovered to come from the wild, the Texas Deer Association and 
the breeders here want to do everything that we can in our power 
to make sure that our animals are the cleanest of any and I 
think they are at this time.  We have more ability to do 
surveillance – more than we do so now.  So we ask that the State 
to join us in that surveillance if we're going to carry it 
further and we ask also that if this disease is discovered and 
if we have to deal with it, that the focus of the blame is not 
on the deer breeders for at this time we know that's not true.  
Thank you.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Kirby Brown with the Texas Wildlife 
Association.

MR. BROWN:  Thank you Madame Chairman, Commissioners, it's 
very different to be on this side for a change after 25 years 
and I am Kirby Brown with the Texas Wildlife Association an 
organization committed to natural resources on private lands.  I 
appreciate the Commissions grave concern with this issue and 
your rapid response, that's much appreciated especially in the 
face of CWD.  The resolution that was passed by our Executive 
Committee reads, the discovery of chronic wasting disease in 
wild deer populations in Wisconsin has greatly heightened our 
members concerns about the potential spread of the disease in 
wild deer population of Texas and the effect on private land 
owners in the 2.4 billion dollar Texas hunting industry.  The 
Texas Wildlife Association supports the immediate emergency 
closure of Texas borders to the importation of white-tail deer, 
mule deer, black tail deer, and elk and any necessary enhanced 
enforcement to ensure the closure.  And the resolution was 
created basically to demonstrate our strong support for the 
Commission and your activities that are ongoing.  We want to 
congratulate the Commission about where you've been heading in 
terms of the process that you're already in – and I think you're 
– you're going to finish in April and we appreciate that.  It 
was really our intent to have the staff look at this from an 
emergency standpoint with CWD in Wisconsin and report to you not 
so much necessarily for you guys to be here on a Monday morning, 
so we appreciate your concern and your rapid response.  Our 
primary concern remains with elk, we think that still is outside 
of the area, we think that elk are the most likely vector for 
the disease, and the transmission of that disease and know it's 
outside of your jurisdiction, but if there's a way to stop the 
deer,  we're firmly in favor of that.  If an emergency action 
would jeopardize any of the ongoing regulatory process, then we 
would like to strongly encourage a limited process for CWD 
targeting the Wisconsin deer and any trace backs out there to 
those Wisconsin deer, I think that's very important.
Finally, we recommend the development of a blue ribbon 
panel to look at the movement of deer in Texas, we further 
recommend that current movements be put in slow motion or stop 
action at the end of this month, and third we recommend that TPWD 
develop and send a letter to breeders recommending a voluntary 
quarantine of all deer in pens that have been received, that 
have deer that have been received in this during this last year 
to further protect others from chronic wasting disease.  That's 
it, thank you.  If you have any questions.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Next is Jerry Johnston and after Jerry, we 
have Gary Machen.

MR. JOHNSTON:  Before the thought gets out of my mind.  
Kirby did you -- when you said deer that had been put into the 
pen -- did you mean intrastate, or out of state, or---

MR. BROWN:  Out of state.

MR. JOHNSTON:  Out of state, ok, I just – other than that 
what these two fellows had to say pretty much mirrors what I had 
to say.  So, I haven't got anything else – thank you.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  Gary Machen – you defer?

MR. MACHEN:  They said it.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Ok -- David Langford and Bill Eikenhorn.

MR. LANGFORD:  Thank you Madame Chairman members of the 
Commission and welcome to the new commissioner.  This is a kind 
of different, we had a Commission Meeting in -- down there at 
Rockport in 1991 as I recall during Chairman Nash's tenure and I 
don't think there's been a Commission Meeting anywhere else in 
the State other than Austin since then.  I just want to echo 
what Kirby Brown said and to reinforce that-- that our intention 
is to support this Commission in this effort to the hilt.  If 
you would like for us to link arms and help guard the border and 
keep people from coming in, we'll be happy to do that.  That's 
strictly our intention is to show a strong support for the 
Commission in this effort, thank you very much.

MR. EIKENHORN:  Madame Chairman, I don't have anything to 
add.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  John Harwood, then we're done.
MR. HARWOOD:  Hello, I'm John Harwood and I'm the Chairman 
of the Board for the Exotic Wildlife Association and I 
appreciate the opportunity to talk with you.  I think that --  
we think a little bit outside the box, because we have members 
in half the country and several other foreign countries, but I 
think we would support the Commission in whatever decision that 
they had to make, but just for everybody to know all the facts 
and to make sure that we have you know, all the ideas together 
before -- before you act, and  -- I know that CWD was first 
found in 1967 in Colorado and so it's been around for quite a 
while.  And there's been hunting going on up there and they've 
throwing the animals on top of suburbans and bringing them back 
here to Texas.  That's concerned me some.  I was glad to see us 
knock Colorado out of the export business as far as I know to 
export elk and deer whatever into Texas.  The only concern that 
I really have as Exotic Wildlife Association Chairman is -- is 
closing the border sounds good, but would it be effective?  I 
know several incidences where people bring deer into the state 
without the proper paperwork, one even happened at a checkpoint 
where -- where the guy says, "We don't the paperwork, we're not 
gonna allow you in -- this is from Louisiana, but I'll be gone 
at 10:30."  So the guy turns around and goes back to Louisiana 
and comes back at 10:30.  This is the only thing that really 
concerns me and I would hate to escalate the black market of 
deer simply because there's no trace back on these animals.  As 
far as the Texas Animal Health Commission goes, I think they can 
back me up on this too, that we suspected some elk came into 
Texas from a herd that came down with CWD after they had already 
been exported.  When we tracked those animals down, I think one 
bull elk is still here in Texas and we're watching it right now 
to make sure that it doesn't come down with CWD, but all the 
other elk left to different states and we contacted all those 
states.  So the Animal Health Commission says that well we have 
a system in place that works for tracking animals; now will it 
stop the disease from coming in -- I can't tell you that -- will 
closing the borders stop the disease from coming in -- I can't 
say that either.  I'm not saying it's a bad idea, it's just if 
we do that I would really like to see some prosecutions of 
people who haul deer in illegally because there is one example 
that I know of where the guy that ended up with the deer got in 
a lot of trouble, but the people who hauled him in absolutely 
nothing happened to them.  That sends the wrong signal and the 
previous Executive Director of Animal Health Commission and I 
talked about that in great length and that really concerned me 
because the Exotic Wildlife Association helped them track down 
these deer and the people who did it and I was expecting to see 
some results and it just didn't happen.  It's almost like the 
police officer who catches the bad guy off the street and take 
him in to jail and then they let him go on some technicality.  I 
mean its -- it really gives you a sinking feeling, but I -- the 
Exotic Wildlife Association is not going to put up a tremendous 
fight for closing the border, it just that we really would like 
to think a little bit outside the box and if we close the 
borders by God we really need to make sure that we prosecute 
some people that we catch and maybe step up the check points and 
what not that -- if they could just be open a little bit longer.  
I know of two major people that do a lot of business out of 
state, they've been doing it for over 15 years, they've seen the 
check point coming in I think from the northern part open once.  
So it's just that, that concerns us.
Secondly, I would think that if you just close the border 
to all white-tails, does that mean that zoos can't even trade 
the animals, and they've been monitoring these animals for a 
long time, I mean they do necropsy on everything that dies, to 
the full extent and so are we gonna ban those people from being 
able to ship animals or from people that are in chronic wasting 
programs?  Now there's only one that's up to the five-year term 
that can ship animals, but we ourselves are very interested in 
the elk.  The elk is largest number of animals that have this 
disease and we're very concerned about it, because it directly 
affects our livelihood as Exotic Wildlife Association members 
and people trying to generate some income off your property 
which is very hard to do these days.  But if we do close the 
borders that's really – our only concern I think is that we 
effectively try to close the border and not just say it in good 
will and it looks good on paper and by God this seems like the 
right thing to do but can we effectively do that and prosecute 
people at the same time.  That's really my only comment – thank 
you.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you John.  That completes the public 
testimony.  Is there any further discussion from the Commission?

COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I think there's several good points 
raised there, I'd like to see if Dr. Cooke would respond to 
those–or answer some further questions?  A couple of the 
comments that were made there one that right off the bat that 
bringing in dead animals does that present any risk or do we 
know whether it will or not?

DR. COOKE:  We don't know.  We discussed this with Dr. Max 
Coats, I think that this was a question that was brought up 
during his briefing of the Commission.  He estimated that 
infection from that source would be vanishingly small in his 
opinion.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Good.  Then the second would be about 
the enforcement, I'm sure you've thought about that.

DR. COOKE:  Yes, Animal Health Commission has fairly 
limited types of actions that they can make, primarily through 
civil action is their primary motive of operation.  When you 
make a rule related to game animals in the scientific breeder 
program, if they are violated it not only will be a state 
violation, but it will also be a Lacey (Lacey Act) violation, 
which is a federal felony which is like confiscate equipment, 
get out of my truck, prison time.  So as far as enforcement is 
concerned the things that the Animal Health Commission can do 
related to what can be done if this action is made and in fact 
the violation is a white-tail or a mule deer -- a game animal in 
this species.  Now there's considerable prosecution authority 
available and I don't think there'll be any hesitation to use 
that either.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I'm sure that we would encourage the 
membership in these three organizations that are represented 
here as well as anyone else in the state to help us if they know 
of some violations taking place, is that correct?

DR. COOKE:  Absolutely.  They will be followed up.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Mr. Harwood mentioned zoos.

DR. COOKE:  Yes ma'am.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  And monitoring of zoo populations.  I 
would you address the monitoring programs in some of the other 
states zoo and otherwise and the different levels and would you 
be comfortable as states institute monitoring herds, would you 
be comfortable at some date in the future allowing game to come 
into Texas from monitored herds?

DR. COOKE:  As I pointed out at the January meeting and 
I'll reiterate.  If the Animal Health Commission being the 
professionals in the field have confidence in a testing or 
monitoring program I have confidence in that program.  If they 
choose to use as an entry requirement CWD monitoring status of 
level three and they consider that to be adequate, I consider 
that to be adequate.  As far as zoos are concerned, I'm not sure 
I'm aware of any animals anywhere that have greater scrutiny 
than in zoos.  Zoo animals are not held under a scientific 
breeder permit although I think there is one zoo in Texas who 
has a scientific breeder permit so that they can deal in that 
trade.  They are held under a zoological permit which requires 
AZA certification and part of that certification program is a 
very extensive veterinary monitoring system as well.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  But they would be prevented from 
importing under this rule making that we are talking about 
today?

DR. COOKE:  This rulemaking that we are talking about here 
would not affect a zoo unless they had a scientific breeder 
permit.  This action will be an amendment to the scientific 
breeder proclamation.  It would deactivate purchase permits for 
use of animals for purchase outside of the State of Texas and it 
would show that transport permits would be invalid for 
transporting animals from outside of the state.  That's the 
action that would be taken, it would not necessarily affect a 
zoo unless you chose to take that action at some future time, 
but that would be a completely different proclamation.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Ready for a motion?  Let's do it.

CHAIRMAIN IDSAL:  Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I move approval of the recommendation 
from the staff.

COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Second

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  We have a motion for approval by Mr. 
Angelo and a second by Commissioner Watson.  All in favor.

COMMISSION:  "Aye."

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  All opposed?  Motion passes.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  I believe this concludes our agenda today.  
Mr. Cook is there any other business for us to address today?
MR. COOK:  No Ma'am.

CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  The meeting is adjourned.



REPORTER'S CERTIFICATE

STATE OF TEXAS      )
COUNTY OF TRAVIS    )
I, LORENZA A. ESTRADA, a Notary Public in and for the State of 
Texas, do hereby certify that the above and foregoing 14 pages 
constitute a full, true and correct transcript of the minutes of 
the TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION on MARCH 11, 2002, at 
the Adult Learning Center, 2809 Broadway, San Antonio, Texas, 
Bexar County, Texas.
	I FURTHER CERTIFY that a tape record was made by me at the 
time of the public meeting and said tape was thereafter reduced 
to computerized transcription under my control.
	WITNESS MY HAND this the ______ day of ____________________ 
2002.

                    ________________________________
                    LORENZA A. ESTRADA, Notary Public
                    Expiration Date:  05-23-02
                    4200 Smith School Road
                    Austin, TX  78744
                    (512) 389-4814

SWORN AND SUBCRIBED TO ME on this _____ day of ___________, 2002 
by Lorenza A. Estrada, a Notary Public for said Department.

                    ________________________________
                    Dee A. Skelton
                    Commission Expires:  01-31-2004


AFFIX SIGNATURES ON THIS 4th day of April, 2002.

	Katharine Armstrong Idsal, Chairman

	Ernest Angelo, Jr., Vice Chairman

	John Avila, Jr., Member

	Joseph B. C. Fitzsimons, Member

	Alvin L. Henry., Member

	Philip Montgomery, III, Member

	Donato D. Ramos, Member

	Kelly W. Rising, M.D., Member

	Mark E. Watson, Jr., Member


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