Abraham bill aims to stop Chronic Wasting Disease in deer
WASHINGTON - Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, has introduced a bill aimed at stopping the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which has devastating effects on deer herds.
CWD is spreading in wild, free-ranging deer, caribou, elk and moose herds (Cervids) and in captive cervid herds across the United States. It has been found in 25 states, including in Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas. It has not been found in Louisiana, according to the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
CWD is 100 percent fatal. There is no cure and no reliable live animal test to detect the disease and stop it before it spreads to other animals. The only known measure for reducing the spread of CWD is the complete depopulation of herds that test positive for the disease. It is unknown whether the disease can spread to non-cervid wildlife, livestock or humans.
Dr. Abraham, a former veterinarian, has introduced a bill that requires the Secretary of Agriculture to partner with the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science to study and identify the ways CWD is transmitted between wild, captive and farmed cervids. This will provide a credible and scientifically-based foundation of understanding of the disease that can help end its spread.
“CWD could have devastating effects on Louisiana deer populations and, possibly, other mammals. The best hope we have for controlling CWD begins with understanding how it spreads. We don’t have that right now. Since so little information exists on this topic, my bill would instruct some of the brightest scientists in the country to study and learn more about CWD so that we can stop it,” Dr. Abraham said.
The bill, HR 6272, has four original cosponsors: U.S. Reps. Glen Thompson, R-Pa.; Ryan Costello, R-Pa.; Tom Marino, R-Pa.; and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz. It has been referred to the House Agriculture Committee, of which Dr. Abraham is a member.