Bill aims to stop chronic wasting disease
Bipartisan legislation aimed at combating the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) within the deer population was recently reintroduced by Rep. Ralph Abraham (R., La.)
The bill, H.R. 837, calls for the secretaries of agriculture and interior to partner with the National Academies of Science to study and identify the ways CWD is transmitted among wild, captive and farmed cervids (deer, caribou, elk and moose).
There is currently no live test for CWD, nor is there a cure. The only treatment for its spread is the complete depopulation of a deer herd if an animal is infected. It is not known whether the disease can spread to non-cervid wildlife, livestock or humans.
CWD has been found in at least 25 states, including Mississippi, Texas and Arkansas.
“CWD can have a devastating effect on deer populations and, possibly, other animals. Mississippi confirmed new cases just last week, and I am concerned that it will eventually spread to Louisiana,” said Dr. Abraham, a former veterinarian. “My bill will bring the brightest minds in the country together to provide a comprehensive study that will help us understand how it spreads. It will be the first step in eradicating this disease and saving our wildlife.”
Outdoor groups are lining up to support the bill.
“Chronic wasting disease threatens America’s hunting tradition and funding for conservation,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and chief executive officer of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “This legislation will provide solid scientific data so we can attack this disease head on and protect herds across our nation. We want to thank Reps. Abraham and Veasey for their leadership and look forward to advancing this bill in the new Congress.”
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