Action Alert: Support Rhode Island House Bill 7869

March 9, 2020 | by National Deer Alliance

Rhode Island House Bill 7869, introduced on February 26, 2020, by Representatives Scott Slater (D), Grace Diaz (D) and David Bennett (D), would prohibit importing or releasing any big game animal into or on any property within the state for purposes of conducting captive hunting. Captive hunting "refers to a hunt that occurs within a structure designed to restrict the free movement of animals created by the use of fences, manmade structures and/or natural barriers. . .wherein the animal is restricted from escaping or fleeing from the confined area during the hunt."

The National Deer Alliance (NDA) outlines deer diseases as a top priority area, and chronic wasting disease (CWD) fits squarely within this area. While there remains much to learn about CWD, we do know that moving deer, dead or alive, can facilitate it's spread. That goes for deer relocations led by wildlife agencies or movements between captive deer facilities given the absence of a reliable live animal test, and transport of carcasses by hunters who can't be immediately sure if their deer is infected. CWD spreads the fastest and the furthest when carried in a vehicle, and that's something that all deer managers and hunters should be concerned about.

“Rhode Island H7869 recognizes that movement, and ultimately the escape or release, of captive big game can be incredibly harmful to wild populations,” said Torin Miller, NDA’s policy and outreach coordinator. “Certainly, legislation such as this goes a long way to help slow the spread of CWD across state lines.”

NDA supports Rhode Island's proactive approach to protecting its wild deer herd from unnecessary exposure to potentially CWD-positive deer and cervids originating outside of the state. H7869 tackles this challenge head-on. Join NDA in supporting H7869; urge your Representatives to vote YES on the bill. Visit the NDA Grassroots Advocacy Center, where you can place your vote of support on the bill and directly email your state lawmakers.