National Deer Alliance Testifies on CWD at Congressional Subcommittee Hearing
The National Deer Alliance (NDA) gave oral testimony to the United States House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Tuesday, June 25. President and CEO Nick Pinizzotto provided compelling evidence as to why chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an issue that must be met with a cohesive, urgent response from hunters, conservation groups, legislators and the general public. Video of the complete testimony can be viewed here. Joining Pinizzotto on the witness panel was NDA board member Dr. Krysten Schuler, who is a wildlife disease ecologist with the Cornell University Animal Health Laboratory.
CWD is an unprecedented threat to healthy deer herds. Unlike other known or visible diseases though, CWD does not kill large amounts of deer at the same time, and affected deer often don’t show signs or symptoms until death is near. These factors, in addition to other communication and non-scientific-based reasoning from vocal groups and individuals, can leave hunters and members of the public confused, or without a sense of urgency of what’s at stake.
Threat to an American Tradition and Valuable Conservation Dollars
CWD is always fatal. There are no survivors. For the most part, it’s not a process that can be observed by the masses. CWD is now known to exist in 26 states, and resources and funding are needed immediately to combat this issue.
“It is unrealistic to think that CWD is going away any time soon,” said Pinizzotto in his testimony. “We need to come to grips with the idea that this is a ‘forever’ issue, and that there is no end in sight. The sphere of influence around deer, which includes scientists, wildlife managers, hunters, and even the general public, must learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable as we face the challenges that CWD presents.”
Founded in 2014, the National Deer Alliance’s mission is to serve as the guardian of wild deer conservation and the hunting heritage. The NDA’s work on behalf of deer, deer hunters, and the hunting industry is policy-focused. While all deer issues are important, CWD is paramount. Just last year the NDA revised the strategic plan and identified CWD as the top priority, and estimates that nearly 90% of their work is related to the issue.