Tuesday, December 18, 2012
December 14, 2012
Threat How deer breeding could put public trust wildlife at risk
By James E. Miller
A recent news story in Iowa’s The Gazette, dated September 21, 2012, began: “Iowa’s first seven cases of chronic wasting disease—all directly related to confined white-tailed deer—have put a bull’s eye on the backs of the state’s deer breeders and the pay-to-shoot facilities they supply” (The Gazette 2012). Less than one month later, Pennsylvania confirmed its first case of CWD, which was traced to a deer farm in Adams County (The Sentinel 2012). And in Indiana, an October 19 news report noted concerns about the spread of CWD after 20 deer escaped from a farm that was breeding trophy bucks for fenced-in private hunting preserves (Indystar.com 2012). That article quoted Indiana’s DNR spokesman as saying the case “underscores the concern many have about how the commercialization of wildlife and interstate trafficking in wildlife presents a Pandora’s Box, with the potential spread of a deadly disease that does have some wide-ranging consequences.”
Wide-ranging consequences indeed. The spread of chronic wasting disease from captive deer populations is only one of many potential problems related to the commercialization of Public Trust Wildlife (PTW) resources. Under the guise of promoting “economic development,” thousands of for-profit deer-breeding and canned shooting operations have proliferated across the nation. Their proponents are aggressively promoting legislation to expand the industry—a trend that has snowballed since 2007.
All wildlife professionals who care about wildlife resources should take note—and take action. Such legislation has the potential to shift authority for PTW resources, specifically captive white-tailed deer, away from state fish and wildlife agencies to departments of agriculture or state veterinarians, thereby undermining science-based management by wildlife biologists. The rise of deer breeding and farming also threatens fair-chase hunting, our nation’s hunting heritage, funding for conservation, wildlife health, and the essential principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, which created the greatest wildlife restoration in history. Unless we’re willing to accept these consequences, we need to fight.
The Legislative Onslaught In 2007-2008, legislation was proposed in a few states stimulated by deer breeding/farming proponents, most of which didn’t survive the legislative process. But in 2012, such legislation was proposed or introduced in at least 10 states including Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) issued a press release in February 2012 outlining existing or proposed legislation in seven of those states and urging hunters “to oppose the expansion of the deer-breeding industry, which QDMA perceives as a growing threat to wild deer and the deer-hunting heritage.”
The bills proposed in Mississippi were fairly representative of what deer-farming proponents hope to accomplish legislatively. Mississippi Senate Bills 2554 and 2555 had asked the state to “allow the importation of farm-raised white-tailed deer, semen, ova, and embryos … to allow the establishment of deer-breeding farms.” The bills also requested that Chapter 7 of Title 49 in the Mississippi Code of 1972 be amended so that it would “not apply to farm-raised white-tailed deer contained in breeding facilities or to deer-breeding farms.” That amendment would have exempted cervid breeding and farming facilities from regulations regarding canned shoots, hunting seasons, bag limits, hunting license requirements, disease and animal care monitoring and surveillance, and any other applicable regulations set by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. Fortunately, those bills were defeated—but that doesn’t mean they won’t be reintroduced next year.
Some of us in the wildlife profession have tried to warn colleagues of the dangers of such legislation, which could undermine the success of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, threaten the continued success of scientific wildlife management, and exploit PTW resources that belong to the public. Our warnings are often met with apathy, however, or expressions such as “it won’t happen in my state.” To raise the alarm, I have spoken to a number of state chapters of The Wildlife Society, and at professional meetings around the country, about how deer-breeding and canned-shooting proponents are pushing for legislation that is favorable to their industries. As wildlife professionals, we have a responsibility to challenge those who will exploit public trust resources. But to do that effectively, we need to understand the tactics and what is at stake.
Costs and Consequences At its core, this effort to privatize PTW resources for private gain violates the principles of the North American Model, which calls for the science-based management of wildlife held in trust by the government for the benefit of present and future generations. Yet the apparent goal of deer-breeding proponents is to assume private ownership of any white-tailed deer they can enclose, to manipulate those deer (genetically or through selective breeding and hormones), to raise them in an animal-husbandry environment, and to transport and market the deer and their products within and between states for personal gain. To quote QDMA Chief Executive Officer Brian Murphy, “Not only does this industry undermine the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation … it also threatens the health of wild deer and the public’s perception of hunting.” Such concerns are worth exploring here.
Transfer Authority. If PTW resources can be commercialized, owned, modified, bought, and sold, they effectively become livestock or alternative livestock. The authority for managing the animals would therefore pass from state natural-resource agencies to state departments of agriculture or the state veterinarian. However, those agencies may not have the appropriate scientific capability, educational background, funds, desire, or trained professionals to effectively handle the task or conduct the proper oversight. After talking with the state veterinarian in Tennessee, for example, a representative of the Tennessee Cattleman’s Association sent a letter to a state legislator who had introduced a deer breeding bill (HB 1112). In that letter, dated March 3, 2011, the author wrote, “I spoke with the state veterinarian … about the enforcement of the testing requirements and importation guidelines [proposed in the bill] for the deer. It appears as though the state’s veterinarian’s office and their animal health technicians are already stretched thin and are not able to enforce many of the health requirements already in place.” This suggests that transferring authority over wildlife resources would not only erode the timehonored system of managing and regulating PTW resources via responsible state, federal, and provincial fish and wildlife agencies, but could potentially put those resources in peril.
“Hornography” vs. Fair Chase. Commercial deer-breeding enterprises typically involve keeping animals in high-fence enclosures or breeding pens where they are fed, medicated, and habituated to people. The deer may be genetically manipulated or given growth-enhancing substances, practices that sometimes create bucks with abnormally large “trophy” antlers. Some producers create “breeder bucks,” hugely antlered animals that generate semen straws, inseminated does, embryos, and fawns that can be sold to other breeders. Somewhat smaller-antlered “management/shooter/stocker bucks” may be sold for shooting in a fenced area, where owners may guarantee a certain antler score for a fee.
No doubt some breeding operations strive to follow best practices of animal husbandry. However, in some cases, the antlers of some deer are so deformed that the animals appear to have difficulty moving, and some animals may be baited or held in such small areas there is no chance of escape from shooters. In some states the shooter is not required to purchase a state license, there is no bag limit, and the method of harvest is not defined. Those of us who deplore these practices and care about fair-chase hunting describe this as “hornography,” the antithesis of fair chase and a practice that anti-hunting groups could use to turn public sentiment against ethical fair-chase hunting.
The National Wildlife Federation shows an extreme example of captive shooting in a video it produced in 2005 to alert legitimate hunters about problems associated with this industry. It shows a grotesquely-antlered deer staggering toward a bait pile near a tree where a bow hunter waits to shoot it. According to video narrator Brian Preston, the deer are sometimes drugged and kept in three-to-six-acre enclosed pens where they can be shot for fees of up to $20,000. “This re-commercialization of wildlife,” says Preston, “has produced increasingly publicized poor ethics, noncompliance with even basic regulations, economic damages, and incredible disease risk to free-ranging wildlife.”
Spread of Disease. This risk has become reality as the recent headlines make clear. Diseases such as CWD, bovine tuberculosis (BT), and others have become more widespread among both captive cervid facilities and in wild populations in recent years, with CWD in cervids now reported in 22 states and two Canadian provinces (CWD Alliance 2012). The NWF video notes that the spread of CWD has been “directly linked to movement of captive deer and elk,” adding that some captive facilities fail to report escapes or to test dead captive deer for CWD as required by law. “This relatively new industry,” says Preston, “has rapidly digressed in ethical standards while at the same time putting free-ranging wildlife at continually increased risk of nearly a dozen diseases ….”
Some in the industry dispute such claims. A June 20, 2012 news release produced by the American Deer and Wildlife Alliance (ADWA) quotes the group’s president as saying, “There has never been one documented case of a herd (wild or farmed) being lost due to a contagion of CWD so we have to get past the propaganda.” Yet numerous captive herds with a contagion of CWD have been depopulated in recent years, including a white-tailed deer farm in central Wisconsin, where 79 percent of the herd tested positive for CWD (Keane et al. 2008). Some states are so concerned about the threat of disease from captive facilities that restrictions on inter-and intra-state transport and sale of cervids have increased as a means to combat the expansion of disease. In Georgia, for example, a letter co-signed March 6, 2012 by the Director of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia State Veterinarian says that “Georgia is one of several states that have chosen to minimize the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) by prohibiting the importation of any live member of the cervid family.”
False Economics? Such transport restrictions, and the increased monitoring and surveillance for wildlife disease, are making some people in the deer farming/breeding industry eager to find new markets and buyers—and to pressure lawmakers into relaxing restrictions and passing industry-friendly laws. In today’s economy, legislators often hope to be perceived as promoting any form of “economic development,” and many of the recently-introduced bills claim to do just that. For example, one legislator who introduced a Mississippi deer-breeding bill reportedly argued that it was not a wildlife issue, but more of a business or commerce issue (NECN.com 2012). And proponents of the industry try to paint opponents as anti-commerce. According to the ADWA website, “Wildlife professionals resort to scare tactics, heated rhetoric, and lies to close down wildlife commerce and shut off new hunting opportunities.”
Yet those who support deer-breeding legislation sometimes make exaggerated claims about the potential economic impacts of this industry. In Georgia, proponents gave a presentation that claimed that the economic impact of deer breeding in Texas alone is $1.3 billion and supports 14,883 jobs, citing a 2008 Texas A&M University study. However, that study actually says, “The industry generates an estimated $652 million in economic activity, while supporting 7,335 jobs” (Frosch et al. 2008). I’ve reviewed the entire 19-page study carefully, and I find the estimated economic impacts questionable. As for the issue of canned shooting, I’d concur with the Indiana Sportsmen’s Roundtable, which wrote in a statement earlier this year, “See this for what it really is—this is a debate between making a fast dollar today vs. ensuring the future of our hunting heritage for tomorrow.”
Hidden Costs. Can we afford to allow the privatization and exploitation of wildlife resources—which will benefit only a few individuals who want to turn our wildlife into livestock—and, in the process, jeopardize a traditional hunting industry that in 2011 involved 13.7 million people who expended $34 billion on recreational hunting (FWS 2012)? The dollars that hunters pour into states through license fees and excise taxes fund state conservation of game and non-game species alike. States cannot afford to lose game herds through the continued spread of disease from captive penned or escaped animals, nor can they afford to have the public turn against hunting in general because of disgust with captive deer/cervid shooting.
Consider one case in point: In late October of this year, a doe escaped from a deer farm in Pennsylvania where the state’s first case of CWD had been confirmed. This reportedly prompted Pennsylvania Game Commissioner Ronald Weaner to say that the potential of CWD to spread into the wild deer population “is the No. 1 priority for the Game Commission right now” (The Evening Sun 2012). When states must spend scarce resources to track down potentially infected animals that have escaped from farm facilities, those state resources are not available for other essential wildlife conservation priorities.
Mount an Effective Fight If properly approached, state legislators may come to understand the biological, social, and economic risks posed by deer-breeding operations, and may therefore be inclined to oppose related legislation that is being pushed under the guise of economic development. Based on my personal experience in successfully helping to oppose such legislation in Mississippi and elsewhere, I offer the following four techniques that can help wildlifers and others who value our PTW resources to effectively oppose and shortstop such legislation.
Get the Facts. Collect and assimilate facts and case histories about the deer farming/deer breeding facilities and organizations. Dig into news accounts and reports by state and federal agencies regarding cervid diseases, non-compliance with regulations, and problems with deer breeding/farming operations, including escapes and related costs of herd surveillance and disease monitoring. Obtain up-to-date information about diseases such as CWD and BT from websites such as those from the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and the Michigan DNR, which has extensive information regarding BT and its impact on wildlife and livestock. And know what the deer-breeding industry is claiming so you can effectively refute false claims.
The June-July 2012 issue of Quality Whitetails, published by the QDMA, contains an article titled “Disease Dangers of Captive Deer,” which exposes some misleading statements from the deer breeding industry (Adams 2012). For instance, the article says that the industry claims that there have only been a “small handful” of captive white-tailed herds that have been found with CWD. “This statement is false,” notes the article. In fact, according to the USDA-APHIS National Wildlife Research Center, “by mid-2012, 55 cervid herds in 11 states were reported to be CWD positive” (USDA). If you have the facts, your arguments will have more sway.
Lobby the Lawmakers. Determine the critical state or federal House and Senate committees that deal with deer-breeding/farming legislation, then get the email addresses and phone numbers of the chairs and co-chairs of those committees and focus your efforts on them. If possible, meet with them face-to-face, share your concerns as respectfully and succinctly as possible, and be willing to provide them with further information if they request it.
For example, Glenn Dowling—the National Wildlife Federation’s Regional Representative for Kentucky, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, and the Virgin Islands—recently sent a letter to the Chairman of Georgia’s House Game, Fish and Parks Committee. The letter cited a news article from Iowa about the state’s first cases of CWD, which stemmed from captive deer (The Gazette 2012). “Mr. Chairman,” wrote Dowling, “The article … is a ‘must read’ as hunters and professional wildlife managers around the country are ‘up in arms’ over the captive white-tailed deer breeders’ denial of their negative consequences and ‘clean-up’ costs to the state and county governments. Ultimately it is the hunting public that will pick up the tab as taxpayer dollars will dry up and agencies will go after sportsman dollars to help fund the clean-up and correction.” This type of direct, forceful letter—especially if signed by partners—can have clout.
Form Partnerships. You can display cooperative opposition by partnering with organizations that might have a dog in this fight. These might include NWF state affiliates, the state Farm Bureau or Grange, local livestock producers, the QDMA, Audubon Society, hunting organizations such as the Boone & Crockett Club, and NGOs such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Find out if any of them have policy statements that relate to the issue, and use or cite their resources such as fact sheets and press releases. Also note that cervid breeding/farming facilities and their operations are in direct conflict with The Wildlife Society’s 2010 Technical Review on the Public Trust Doctrine and with several TWS Position Statements, including statements about confinement of ungulates, baiting and feeding of game, responsible use of wildlife, and the North American Model.
Persevere. Do not settle for being a bench warmer. Instead, take action and be vigilant. New legislation can move very quickly, so do not procrastinate. If you find out that a bill is likely to be introduced, contact legislators whom you know are open-minded and willing to discuss it and respectfully inform them of your concerns. Once legislation has been introduced, review the bills carefully, assemble your opposition statement and supportive information, and promptly submit it to all members of the House and Senate and to the Governor’s office. We did this in Mississippi, and our efforts helped defeat deer-farming bills in that state. Finally, alert the state and local news media to generate coverage, which might sway public opinion and influence lawmakers.
During this continued economic recession, mounting effective opposition to deer-breeding and deer-farming legislation introduced in the guise of economic development is neither an easy nor an enjoyable task. You may get some scars and be strongly challenged by deer-breeding proponents. I heard a legislator at a public hearing say he did not want to hear any more facts from those “damned wildlife biologists.” That’s what we’re facing.
Not everyone will understand the gravity of the issue or be willing to take action, but it is our responsibility to educate people about wildlife resource issues and good stewardship. So stay informed, get your facts straight, present them logically, partner with others, and be persistent. If we are complacent, our profession will lose, wildlife will lose, those who follow us will lose, and our hunting heritage could be lost forever.
Author Bio: James E. Miller is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture at Mississippi State University and is a Past President of The Wildlife Society.
Additional ResourcesWhite-tailed Deer Breeding Issue: Brief Overview (Georgia Department of Natural Resources)
The Antler Religion by W. Matt Knox
Disease Dangers of Captive Deer
by Kip Adams
December 14, 2012Vermont Draws a LineLegislation determines who owns wildlife By Jessica P. Johnson
In 2010, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department (VTDFW) was caught off guard. State legislators passed a bill with a provision granting a private elk farmer ownership of wild moose and white-tailed deer that had become entrapped inside his 700-acre farm enclosure, where he was feeding the wildlife. The bill effectively threatened the public’s state constitutional right to hunt, dating back to 1777. “It was an affront to the constitution and the concept of the Public Trust Doctrine,” says Thomas Decker, VTDFW Chief of Operations.
Prior to the 2010 bill, Vermont had only allowed non-native wildlife such as elk to be kept in fenced areas. As chronic wasting disease (CWD) began to spread in the U.S.—posing a serious health concern for wild and captive cervid populations—markets for elk products began to drop sharply. In the 1990s, elk farmers asked the Vermont General Assembly to allow trophy hunting on their farms to make up for lost income. After years of regulatory wrangling, the state Fish and Wildlife Board decided not to allow any new private hunt facilities to open, but agreed to allow regulated elk hunting on existing farms, and only if native white-tails and moose were removed to prevent the possible spread of CWD, which can pass easily among concentrations of animals. “Many people don’t understand the risks associated with that type of ‘farming’,” says Decker.
One elk farm faced a unique problem because its enclosure held roughly 150 native moose and white-tailed deer as well as nonnative ungulates, which mingled at feed sites (see photo). The farmer was unwilling to remove the animals as required by law. Subsequently, the state legislature transferred the jurisdiction of his farm from the VTDFW to Vermont’s Secretary of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, effectively allowing him to profit from private hunts of native species. The legislation made the entrapped wild animals a “Special Purpose Herd” and gave de facto ownership of the animals to the farmer.
After an outcry from many sportsmen, conservation groups, and the VTDFW, in May 2011 the General Assembly signed the Vermont Wildlife Public Trust Act, which returned authority over the farm to the VTDFW, stating that “the fish and wildlife of Vermont are held in trust by the state for the benefit of the citizens of Vermont and shall not be reduced to private ownership.” Today, Decker believes these protections are “strong.”
Author Bio: Jessica P. Johnson is the Science Writer for The Wildlife Professional.
Second Deer Positive for CWD at Davis County Hunting Preserve
Posted: 12/13/2012 A male deer harvested Dec. 1, at the Pine Ridge Hunting Preserve in Davis County has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), which is the second positive test for the fatal disease at this facility.
The initial positive sample was confirmed in July that was submitted from a deer shot in December 2011.
As part of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ CWD response plan, the hunting preserve has been providing test samples from each deer shot at its facility. So far, 151 deer and five elk have been taken according to the depopulation agreement with the landowner.
Clients at the hunting preserve are only allowed to take the cape and antlers attached to a clean skull plate from the facility.
The DNR is continuing to collect samples of wild deer harvested from the five mile zone surrounding the facility with a goal of 300 samples. Iowa’s deer seasons available in Davis County run through Jan. 20, 2013.
Friday, December 14, 2012
IOWA Second Deer Positive for CWD at Davis County Hunting Preserve Captive Shooting Pen
Friday, September 21, 2012
Chronic Wasting Disease CWD raises concerns about deer farms in Iowa
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Agreement Reached with Owner to De-Populate CWD Deer at Davis County Hunting Preserve Iowa
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Additional Facility in Pottawatamie County Iowa Under Quarantine for CWD after 5 deer test positive
Friday, July 20, 2012
CWD found for first time in Iowa at hunting preserve
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
PENNSYLVANIA PURPLE 4 ESCAPED CAPTIVE FOUND FREE OF CWD, what about the deer in Louisiana ?
Sunday, December 09, 2012
Pennsylvania Sportsmen upset with agriculture’s lack of transparency on CWD
Thursday, December 06, 2012
Pennsylvania CWD Not Found in Pink 23 PA captive escapee, but where is Purple 4 and the other escapees ?
News for Immediate Release
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Senator Casey Urges USDA To Take Smart Steps to Implement New Measure That Could Help Combat Chronic Wasting Disease Among Deer
From: Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2012 11:50 AM
To: Press_office@casey.senate.gov Cc: email@example.com ; Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
Subject: Casey Urges USDA To Take Smart Steps to Implement New Measure That Could Help Combat Chronic Wasting Disease Among Deer
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
PENNSYLVANIA 2012 THE GREAT ESCAPE OF CWD INVESTIGATION MOVES INTO LOUISIANA and INDIANA
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
PENNSYLVANIA 2012 THE GREAT ESCAPE OF CWD
Wednesday, November 07, 2012 PENNSYLVANIA
Second Adams County Deer Tests Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease
Friday, October 26, 2012
***CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE CWD PENNSYLVANIA GAME FARMS, URINE ATTRACTANT PRODUCTS, BAITING, AND MINERAL LICKS
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
PA Captive deer from CWD-positive farm roaming free
Pennsylvania CWD number of deer exposed and farms there from much greater than first thought
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 10:44 PM Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 11:33 PM
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Wisconsin Receives Federal Approval for CWD Herd Certification Program for Farm-raised Deer
2010 WISCONSIN CAPTIVE DEER ESCAPES
There were 26 reported escape incidents so far this year, this amounted to 20 actual confirmed escape incidents because 3 were previously reported, 2 were confirmed as wild deer, and 1 incident was not confirmed. ...
C. & D. Captive Cervid and Law Enforcement Update (11:10 AM)- Warden Pete Dunn gave the captive cervid farm update. There were 26 reported escape incidents so far this year, this amounted to 20 actual confirmed escape incidents because 3 were previously reported, 2 were confirmed as wild deer, and 1 incident was not confirmed. Approximately 30% of these escapes were caused by gates being left open and the other 70% resulted from bad fencing or fence related issues. The 20 actual confirmed escape incidents amounted to 77 total animals. 50 of the escaped animals were recovered or killed and 27 were not recovered and remain unaccounted for. Last year the CWD Committee passed a resolution to require double gates, but this has not gone into effect yet. Questions were raised by the committee about double fencing requirements? Pete responded that double fencing has not been practical or accepted by the industry. The DNR has the authority to do fence inspections. ?If a fence fails to pass the inspection the fencing certificate can be revoked and the farmer can be issued a citation. This year three citations and one warning have been issued for escapes. Pete reviewed the reporting requirements for escape incidents that these must be reported within 24 hours. The farmer then has 72 hours to recover the animals or else it will affect the farm’s herd status and ability to move animals. Davin proposed in the 15 year CWD Plan that the DNR take total control and regulatory authority over all deer farm fencing. Larry Gohlke asked Pete about the reliability for reporting escapes? Pete said that the majority of escapes were reported by the farmer, but it is very difficult to determine when an escape actually occurred. Pete said that they are more concerned that an escape is reported and not that it is reported at the exact time that it happened.
THE states are going to have to regulate how many farms that are allowed, or every state in the USA will wind up being just one big private fenced in game farm. kind of like they did with the shrimping industry in the bays, when there got to be too many shrimp boats, you stop issuing permits, and then lower the exist number of permits, by not renewing them, due to reduced permits issued. how many states have $465,000., and can quarantine and purchase there from, each cwd said infected farm, but how many states can afford this for all the cwd infected cervid game ranch type farms ??? 11,000 game farms X $465,000., do all these game farms have insurance to pay for this risk of infected the wild cervid herds, in each state ???
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE CWD WISCONSIN Almond Deer (Buckhorn Flats) Farm Update DECEMBER 2011 The CWD infection rate was nearly 80%, the highest ever in a North American captive herd. RECOMMENDATION: That the Board approve the purchase of 80 acres of land for $465,000 for the Statewide Wildlife Habitat Program in Portage County and approve the restrictions on public use of the site. Form 1100-001 (R 2/11) NATURAL RESOURCES BOARD AGENDA ITEM SUBJECT: Information Item: Almond Deer Farm Update FOR: DECEMBER 2011 BOARD MEETING TUESDAY TO BE PRESENTED BY TITLE: Tami Ryan, Wildlife Health Section Chief
Monday, January 16, 2012 9
GAME FARMS IN WISCONSIN TEST POSITIVE FOR CWD
see full text and more here ;
Thursday, February 09, 2012
50 GAME FARMS IN USA INFECTED WITH CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE
Volume 18, Number 3—March 2012
Samuel E. Saunders1, Shannon L. Bartelt-Hunt, and Jason C. Bartz Author affiliations: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Omaha, Nebraska, USA (S.E. Saunders, S.L. Bartelt-Hunt); Creighton University, Omaha (J.C. Bartz)
Occurrence, Transmission, and Zoonotic Potential of Chronic Wasting Disease
CWD has been identified in free-ranging cervids in 15 US states and 2 Canadian provinces and in ≈100 captive herds in 15 states and provinces and in South Korea (Figure 1, panel B).
Most epidemiologic studies and experimental work have suggested that the potential for CWD transmission to humans is low, and such transmission has not been documented through ongoing surveillance (2,3). In vitro prion replication assays report a relatively low efficiency of CWD PrPSc-directed conversion of human PrPc to PrPSc (30), and transgenic mice overexpressing human PrPc are resistant to CWD infection (31); these findings indicate low zoonotic potential. However, squirrel monkeys are susceptible to CWD by intracerebral and oral inoculation (32). Cynomolgus macaques, which are evolutionarily closer to humans than squirrel monkeys, are resistant to CWD infection (32). Regardless, the finding that a primate is orally susceptible to CWD is of concern...
Reasons for Caution There are several reasons for caution with respect to zoonotic and interspecies CWD transmission. First, there is strong evidence that distinct CWD strains exist (36). Prion strains are distinguished by varied incubation periods, clinical symptoms, PrPSc conformations, and CNS PrPSc depositions (3,32). Strains have been identified in other natural prion diseases, including scrapie, BSE, and CJD (3). Intraspecies and interspecies transmission of prions from CWD-positive deer and elk isolates resulted in identification of >2 strains of CWD in rodent models (36), indicating that CWD strains likely exist in cervids. However, nothing is currently known about natural distribution and prevalence of CWD strains. Currently, host range and pathogenicity vary with prion strain (28,37). Therefore, zoonotic potential of CWD may also vary with CWD strain. In addition, diversity in host (cervid) and target (e.g., human) genotypes further complicates definitive findings of zoonotic and interspecies transmission potentials of CWD. Intraspecies and interspecies passage of the CWD agent may also increase the risk for zoonotic CWD transmission. The CWD prion agent is undergoing serial passage naturally as the disease continues to emerge. In vitro and in vivo intraspecies transmission of the CWD agent yields PrPSc with an increased capacity to convert human PrPc to PrPSc (30).
Interspecies prion transmission can alter CWD host range (38) and yield multiple novel prion strains (3,28). The potential for interspecies CWD transmission (by cohabitating mammals) will only increase as the disease spreads and CWD prions continue to be shed into the environment. This environmental passage itself may alter CWD prions or exert selective pressures on CWD strain mixtures by interactions with soil, which are known to vary with prion strain (25), or exposure to environmental or gut degradation. Given that prion disease in humans can be difficult to diagnose and the asymptomatic incubation period can last decades, continued research, epidemiologic surveillance, and caution in handling risky material remain prudent as CWD continues to spread and the opportunity for interspecies transmission increases. Otherwise, similar to what occurred in the United Kingdom after detection of variant CJD and its subsequent link to BSE, years of prevention could be lost if zoonotic transmission of CWD is subsequently identified,...
Friday, November 09, 2012
*** Chronic Wasting Disease CWD in cervidae and transmission to other species
Minnesota escapees from game farm shooting pens
Friday, May 25, 2012 Chronic Wasting Disease CWD found in a farmed red deer from Ramsey County Minnesota http://chronic-wasting-disease.blogspot.com/2012/05/chronic-wasting-disease-cwd-found-in.html
Deer, elk continue to escape from state farms Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune Updated: March 14, 2011 - 12:08 PM Curbing chronic wasting disease remains a concern; officials are increasing enforcement. Almost 500 captive deer and elk have escaped from Minnesota farms over the past five years, and 134 were never recaptured or killed. So far this year, 17 deer have escaped, and officials are still searching for many of those. SNIP...
Deer, elk continue to escape from state farms
Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune Updated: March 14, 2011 - 12:08 PM
Curbing chronic wasting disease remains a concern; officials are increasing enforcement.
*** Almost 500 captive deer and elk have escaped from Minnesota farms over the past five years, and 134 were never recaptured or killed.
*** So far this year, 17 deer have escaped, and officials are still searching for many of those.
The escapes fuel concern that a captive animal infected with a disease such as chronic wasting disease (CWD) could spread it to the state's wild deer herd. There are 583 deer and elk farms in Minnesota, holding about 15,000 animals. Since 2002, CWD has been confirmed on four farms, and herds there were killed. This year, the first confirmed case of the fatal brain disease in a Minnesota wild deer was found near Pine Island – where a captive elk farm was found in 2009 to be infected with CWD. State officials with the Board of Animal Health, which oversees the deer and elk farms, and the Department of Natural Resources say there is no firm evidence the elk herd, since destroyed, is responsible for infecting that deer. But given the proximity of the cases, suspicion remains high. And others say the continued escape of captive animals is problematic. "It's a loose cannon, and unfortunately it has the potential of threatening our entire wild deer herd," said Mark Johnson, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.
He only recently learned that 109 deer and elk escaped in 32 incidents in 2010, and 24 of those animals never were recovered.
"The escapes themselves are startling and worrisome, but the two dozen not accounted for are a real concern," he said. Dr. Paul Anderson, an assistant director at the Board of Animal Health, said the escapes are unacceptable. "We've talked to the industry people and we all agree those numbers are too high," Anderson said. "We and the producers need to do a better job. We're going to increase our enforcement in 2011." But he said the risk to the wild deer herd is minimal. Deer and elk generally die within three years of exposure to CWD, and 551 of the 583 Minnesota farms have had CWD surveillance for three or more years. "We're very confident those farms don't have CWD," he said. As for the other 32 farms, "we don't think they have CWD either, but our confidence levels are not as good. We're pushing them." The law requires farmers to maintain 8-foot fences, but most of the escapes are caused by human error, Anderson said. "They didn't close a gate or didn't get it shut right," he said. Captive deer and elk brought into the state must come from herds that have been CWD-monitored for at least three years. Anderson said 184 animals were shipped here in the past year, and farmers exported 1,200 outstate. The DNR is hoping the lone wild deer that tested positive for CWD is an aberration. Officials have long said CWD is potentially devastating to the state's wild deer herd. The DNR is killing 900 deer near Pine Island to determine if other deer might have the disease. So far, all have tested negative. Since 2002, the agency has tested more than 32,000 hunter-harvested deer, elk and moose. While the Board of Animal Health licenses and oversees the deer and elk farms, the DNR is responsible for animals that have escaped for more than 24 hours. Escaped deer and elk can keep both DNR conservation officers and wildlife managers busy. Tim Marion, an assistant area wildlife manager in Cambridge, has 38 deer and elk farms in his four-county work area, which includes Isanti, Chisago, Mille Lacs and Kanabec counties. Since last August, he's had 21 animals escape from four farms. Dogs broke into two pens, a tree fell on a fence in a third and another owner said someone opened a gate while he was away. Four of those deer were shot and seven recaptured. Ten remain unaccounted for. Finding them can be difficult. Of nine deer that escaped from a farm near Mora, officials shot one two miles away, another four miles away and a third 8.5 miles from the farm. All were reported by people who spotted the animals at recreational deer feeders because they had tags in one ear, as required by law. "There's no way we would have gotten any of these deer without the landowners helping us," Marion said. But he has another problem. "Three of those deer out there have no tags in the ear," he said. Will he find them? "All I can say is we're trying," he said. DNR conservation officer Jim Guida of Nisswa knows firsthand about escaped deer. He was bow hunting last fall near home when he shot a 10-point buck. Later, he was stunned to find a tag in its left ear. "I thought it might be a [wild] research deer tagged at Camp Ripley," Guida said. Wrong. It had escaped from a farm a year earlier.
Friday, September 28, 2012
Stray elk renews concerns about deer farm security Minnesota
OHIO SHOOTING PEN GAME FARM ESCAPEES Runaways from deer farm face death sentence from state wildlife officials Published: Tuesday, May 05, 2009, 6:30 AM Updated: Tuesday, May 05, 2009, 6:32 AM HUNTSBURG TOWNSHIP — Joe Byler overlooked the open gate at his Geauga County farm. His animals didn't. Seven trophy whitetailed deer being raised by Byler meandered out of their suddenly not-so-fenced-in pen on April 26. It may prove to be a fatal escape. State wildlife officials intend to shoot and kill any runaways that Byler fails to round up within the next few days. Three remained on the lam as of Monday afternoon. Byler managed to recapture the other big money bucks last week with the help of friends.
Monday, June 11, 2012
OHIO Captive deer escapees and non-reporting
Saturday, February 04, 2012
Wisconsin 16 age limit on testing dead deer Game Farm CWD Testing Protocol Needs To Be Revised
Friday, December 14, 2012
*** Susceptibility Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in wild cervids to Humans 2005 - December 14, 2012
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Chronic wasting disease on the Canadian prairies
Saturday, October 6, 2012
**** TRANSMISSION, DIFFERENTIATION, AND PATHOBIOLOGY OF TRANSMISSIBLE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHIES 2011 Annual Report
Friday, August 24, 2012
Diagnostic accuracy of rectal mucosa biopsy testing for chronic wasting disease within white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) herds in North America
Friday, August 31, 2012
COMMITTEE ON CAPTIVE WILDLIFE AND ALTERNATIVE LIVESTOCK and CWD 2009-2012 a review
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Captive Deer Breeding Legislation Overwhelmingly Defeated During 2012 Legislative Session
Friday, December 14, 2012
*** Susceptibility of domestic cats to chronic wasting disease
Friday, December 14, 2012
*** Susceptibility Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in wild cervids to Humans 2005 - December 14, 2012
Subject: DOCKET-- 03D-0186 -- FDA Issues Draft Guidance on Use of Material From Deer and Elk in Animal Feed; Availability
Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 11:47:37 –0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Friday, November 09, 2012
*** Chronic Wasting Disease CWD in cervidae and transmission to other species
LANCET INFECTIOUS DISEASE JOURNAL
Volume 3, Number 8 01 August 2003
Tracking spongiform encephalopathies in North America
My name is Terry S Singeltary Sr, and I live in Bacliff, Texas. I lost my mom to hvCJD (Heidenhain variant CJD) and have been searching for answers ever since. What I have found is that we have not been told the truth. CWD in deer and elk is a small portion of a much bigger problem.
49-year-old Singeltary is one of a number of people who have remained largely unsatisfied after being told that a close relative died from a rapidly progressive dementia compatible with spontaneous Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). So he decided to gather hundreds of documents on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) and realised that if Britons could get variant CJD from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), Americans might get a similar disorder from chronic wasting disease (CWD)the relative of mad cow disease seen among deer and elk in the USA. Although his feverish search did not lead him to the smoking gun linking CWD to a similar disease in North American people, it did uncover a largely disappointing situation.
Singeltary was greatly demoralised at the few attempts to monitor the occurrence of CJD and CWD in the USA. Only a few states have made CJD reportable. Human and animal TSEs should be reportable nationwide and internationally, he complained in a letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 2003; 285: 733). I hope that the CDC does not continue to expect us to still believe that the 85% plus of all CJD cases which are sporadic are all spontaneous, without route or source.
Until recently, CWD was thought to be confined to the wild in a small region in Colorado. But since early 2002, it has been reported in other areas, including Wisconsin, South Dakota, and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Indeed, the occurrence of CWD in states that were not endemic previously increased concern about a widespread outbreak and possible transmission to people and cattle.
To date, experimental studies have proven that the CWD agent can be transmitted to cattle by intracerebral inoculation and that it can cross the mucous membranes of the digestive tract to initiate infection in lymphoid tissue before invasion of the central nervous system. Yet the plausibility of CWD spreading to people has remained elusive.
Getting data on TSEs in the USA from the government is like pulling teeth, Singeltary argues. You get it when they want you to have it, and only what they want you to have.
SNIP...FULL TEXT ;
Diagnosis and Reporting of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
T. S. Singeltary, Sr; D. E. Kraemer; R. V. Gibbons, R. C. Holman, E. D. Belay, L. B. Schonberger
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Transmission of New Bovine Prion to Mice, Atypical Scrapie, BSE, and Sporadic CJD, November-December 2012 update
Friday, November 23, 2012
sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease update As at 5th November 2012 UK, USA, AND CANADA