Bipartisan Senate Legislation Would Combat Disease In Elk, Deer, Other Big Game

The following is courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation:

Senate Bill Will Address Disease Threatening Wildlife, Sporting Heritage

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 28, 2022) — New bipartisan legislation will help address the spread of chronic wasting disease, a fatal neurological disease threatening deer, elk, and moose populations in the United States. The bill will help researchers better understand the disease, give state and Tribal experts the resources they need to control its spread, and protect wildlife.

“We are ecstatic to see the introduction of the CWD Research and Management Act in the Senate. We have seen the CWD spread across the country in recent months and we know, without a doubt, that managers need more resources and that we need more research to combat CWD,” said Aaron Kindle, director of sporting advocacy for the National Wildlife Federation. “We are learning to live with the disease but need to aggressively manage it. The CWD Research and Management Act puts us on a great path to do so. We applaud Senator Heinrich, Hoeven, Tester, and Daines for making CWD management a priority.”

“Chronic Wasting Disease is the largest threat to deer, elk, moose, and caribou populations in North America today. It’s spreading across the United States at an alarming rate, changing our hunting seasons, and impacting our ability to harvest animals to feed our families,” said Marcia Brownlee, program manager for Artemis Sportswomen. “The Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act provides the resources we need to better understand and manage its spread. This bill is essential to protecting the future of our hunting heritage.”

“The bipartisan Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act will help ensure state and Tribal agencies on the front lines of controlling this disease have the resources they need to better understand and stop its spread,” said John Bradley, executive director of the North Dakota Wildlife Federation. “Conserving our deer herds and protecting our hunting heritage will require investing in solutions that match the scale of the problem and this bill does exactly that.”

“It was 20 years ago this month that the first case of Chronic Wasting Disease was detected in New Mexico and we’ve been grappling with this threat ever since,” said Jesse W. Deubel, executive director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “Action to protect New Mexico’s iconic game species like deer and elk is vital to preserve and protect our outdoor economy. We applaud Senator Heinrich for leading the charge to make real and tangible changes to save some of our states most iconic species.”

The NWF Outdoors podcast recently wrapped up their Chronic Wasting Disease Chronicles, a six part series which includes an interview with Senator Ron Kind. The NWF Outdoors podcast recently interviewed Senator Heinrich who talks about Recovering America’s Wildlife Act and the CWD Research and Management Act.

Chronic wasting disease is a highly transmissible disease that spreads among members of the deer family, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, and elk, that are critical to ecosystems along with local economies and hunting traditions. The disease is nearly always fatal and, once established in an area, hard to control. Although there have been no reported cases of chronic wasting disease in people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention some studies “raise concerns that there may also be a risk to people.”

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