Statement from the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Supporting the Introduction of the Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission in Cervidae Study Act in the House

Janurary 30, 2019

Today, Congressman Ralph Abraham (R-LA) introduced the Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission in Cervidae Study Act (HR 837) in the House.  This bill aims to hinder the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) which has spread in wild and captive herds across North America.  The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies strongly supports the reintroduction of this important legislation which, if passed, would provide essential scientific information required to combat this devastating disease which threatens our nation’s wildlife resources.

“We commend and thank Congressman Abraham for the reintroduction of this important piece of legislation,” said Ed Carter, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Executive Director of Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. “We also applaud the congressman for enlisting the National Academies of Science, in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Department of Agriculture, to provide critically important scientific information needed to manage this devastating disease and help protect our precious natural resources.”  Carter added, “Now that CWD has recently been documented in wild deer in my home state of Tennessee, the battle against this wildlife health issue is even more near and dear to me.”

Chronic Wasting Disease is a 100% fatal disease of deer, elk, moose, reindeer, and other species of the family Cervidae which continues to spread across North America, with reported cases now in 26 states and 3 Canadian provinces. In addition to the obvious detriment to the health of the deer herds, the economic loss to state and local communities due to decreased hunter participation can be substantial. Further, the increased administrative cost to wildlife agencies in combing the disease reduces funding normally allocated to other wildlife species.

“The Association applauds and sincerely thanks Congressman Ralph Abraham (R-LA) and the other bill sponsors for introducing the Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission in Cervidae Study Act in the House today,” said Executive Director Ron Regan. “Billions of dollars of economic benefits are generated by hunting and wildlife watching of these species and are now at risk, the loss of which will devastate many rural communities.  We deeply appreciate Congressman Abraham’s close examination of this deadly wildlife disease in an effort to slow its spread.”