Action Alert! NDA Supports Michigan Bills that Combat Chronic Wasting Disease

April 18, 2018 | by National Deer Alliance

A package of three bills was introduced into the Michigan House of Representatives on April 10. The purpose of the bills? Combat chronic wasting disease (CWD) and its effects on wild deer and other cervids. Representatives Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte), Jim Lower (R-Cedar Lake) and Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) introduced the bills. The package consists of House Bills 5770, 5771 and 5772.

Each bill implements a unique method for reducing the spread of CWD or advancing CWD research and management. First, HB 5770 would require owners of captive cervids to construct a second perimeter fence around their facilities. The purpose of a second fence is to reduce (or eliminate) the likelihood that captive deer would make contact with a wild deer. Currently, captive and wild deer can make contact through the existing, single fences.

“It’s critically important that we take every possible precaution to keep captive deer from coming into contact with wild deer,” said Barrett in a press release. “Single fences simply aren’t cutting it. They allow wild deer to come nose-to-nose with deer on farms. One sick deer mingling with wild whitetails is all it takes to jeopardize Michigan’s hunting heritage.”

Next, HB 5771 would make it illegal for anyone to import live cervids, including deer, into the state. “Chronic wasting disease is known to spread easily from deer-to-deer,” Lower said in the press release. “We must take a more proactive approach to stop its spread in Michigan and protect our healthy, sustainable deer herd.”

“To prevent the spread of disease, hunters cannot bring bodies of deer they shoot in other states home to Michigan, but importing live deer is allowed,” Lowell added. “It’s time to bring common sense to the law and prohibit the importation of all deer – dead or alive.”

Finally, HB 5772 would create a system and fund to allow for donations to advance CWD research and management. Specifically, “when an individual applies for a license,” the issuing “agent shall ask whether the individual would like to donate $1.00, $5.00, or $10.00 to the chronic wasting disease fund.”

“Hunters have a stake in this. They value the opportunity to participate in one of Michigan’s most treasured traditions, and it all rides on our deer population remaining healthy,” Lower said of the fund in the release. “This is a smart solution that allows concerned citizens to help protect a valuable natural resource.”

The National Deer Alliance (NDA) outlines deer diseases and wild deer conservation among its six key initiatives. These bills would provide much needed regulations and funds to manage and research CWD and its impacts on wild deer populations. CWD represents the single largest threat to wild deer, and the NDA supports the directing of funds to more CWD management and research. Additionally, common-sense regulations like adding a second layer of protection between captive and wild herds, and a ban on importation of live deer, should be simple, yet effect, modes for reducing the likelihood of CWD transmission and spread.

Better management and more research should not only help agencies and entities learn more about CWD, but ideally, it will help prevent the further spread of the disease. Please join the NDA in supporting Michigan House Bills 5770, 5771 and 5772. The NDA encourages you to write or call your local lawmakers to let them know that you join the NDA in supporting HBs 5770, 5771 and 5772. Michigan sportsmen can take action directly through our Grassroots Advocacy Center.