From Backcountry Hunters & Anglers:
WASHINGTON – Backcountry Hunters & Anglers applauded bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate today that would address the growing problem of chronic wasting disease in wild cervid populations.
Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act, a Senate companion to legislation passed by the House of Representatives last December with an overwhelming 393-33 vote. Original cosponsors of the Senate bill include Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and Cory Booker (D-NJ).
Following introduction of the legislation, BHA thanked Senate leaders for their support of this critical wildlife issue.
“Chronic wasting disease poses an increasing threat to deer, elk and other wild cervids as it continues to spread with no known cure,” said President and CEO Land Tawney. “CWD also represents a threat to the millions of Americans who rely on healthy cervid populations to feed their families and continue their outdoor traditions. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers commends Senators Hoeven and Heinrich for introducing bipartisan legislation that addresses this crisis by providing federal resources for the cooperative research and management of CWD between state and tribal agencies.”
BHA and a broad coalition of hunting groups support the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act, which would coordinate between the Agriculture Department and both state and tribal wildlife agencies and departments of agriculture, authorizing $35 million in funding over the next seven years. This will include development of educational programs to inform the public on CWD and techniques to help prevent its spread. The bill would authorize an additional $35 million in funding for CWD research including developing methods to detect CWD in live cervids, improved testing sensitivity, sustainable harvest management practices to reduce CWD and mechanisms to transmission and effective barriers.
A prion disease that is ultimately fatal, CWD has now spread to wild deer herds in 29 states and three Canadian provinces.
“Because CWD is undetectable in live deer – and because symptoms may take more than a year to develop – monitoring its transmission is incredibly difficult,” continued Tawney. “This fact makes it all the more important to allocate resources for CWD research and management and mitigate further spread.
“Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of if your state or region will be impacted by CWD, but when,” Tawney concluded. “We look forward to working with leaders in both the Senate and the House to expedite advancement of the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act to the president’s desk.”
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