From Backcountry Hunters & Anglers:
WASHINGTON – Backcountry Hunters & Anglers commended a vote by House of Representatives members this evening to advance a bill that would address chronic wasting disease.
The House passed the bipartisan Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act (H.R. 5608) 393-33 under suspension of the rules, allowing it to expedite consideration of noncontroversial bills. BHA and a broad coalition of hunting groups support the legislation, which would fund coordinated management between the Agriculture Department and state wildlife agencies and departments of agriculture, authorizing $70 million over the next seven years. The bill also would fund CWD research and the development of educational programs to inform the public.
BHA today thanked House members who voted for the bill and acknowledged the steadfast efforts of its co-sponsors, Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA), to address the impacts of CWD in wild cervid populations.
“Each year millions of Americans hunt deer and other big game species, and each season more hunters face the threat of CWD and the serious threat it poses to feeding our families and pursuing our outdoor traditions,” said BHA Conservation Director John Gale. “We commend the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 5608 and protecting our wild cervid populations.”
BHA chapter leaders added their voices in supporting the House vote.
“Since its detection at a captive deer facility in Pennsylvania in 2012, CWD has expanded and can now be found in all or part of 27 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, which has put tremendous strain on our Game Commission’s resources,” said Don Rank, secretary of the Pennsylvania chapter of BHA. “With CWD becoming a factor for more and more hunters, we are thankful to see a solutions-oriented bill in the Congress. Cheers to Representatives Thompson and Kind for sponsoring the legislation.”
“Wisconsin BHA is ecstatic at the passage of Rep. Ron Kind’s legislation, which would help stop the spread of CWD,” said Joe Steffen, chair of the Wisconsin chapter of BHA. “We hope the Wisconsin legislature takes note and acts at the state level to bolster our CWD response. The nearly 20-year presence of CWD in Wisconsin has gone unaddressed by elected officials for far too long.”
“CWD is one of the biggest threats to deer, elk and other wild cervids in the United States, and with no known cure it continues to spread,” concluded Gale. “Combatting the spread of CWD and ensuring that future generations can enjoy healthy wildlife populations and quality hunting opportunities is critical to our great American outdoor traditions.”
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