NDA Joins Conservation Partners in Support of Increased CWD Funding

April 8, 2020 | by National Deer Alliance

The National Deer Alliance (NDA) recently joined dozens of conservation partners in penning a letter to House Appropriations Committee Leaders Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Kay Granger (R-TX) and Senate Appropriations Committee Leaders Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) urging the lawmakers to increase funding to state wildlife agencies for the purposes of containing the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in free-ranging deer.

For the current Fiscal Year (FY), despite a House vote in favor of providing $15 million to the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Equine, Cervid and Small Ruminant Health Program to facilitate cooperative agreements with state wildlife agencies for the monitoring, testing, research and surveillance of CWD in free-ranging deer populations, the Senate ultimately appropriated $5 million to be split between state wildlife and agriculture agencies. NDA and its conservation partners are urging both the House and Senate Appropriations Committee to consider FY 2021 funding of $15 million for cooperative agreements with state wildlife agencies within the Equine Cervid and Small Ruminant Health line-item.

NDA prioritizes deer diseases as one of its priority areas, and chronic wasting disease falls squarely within this priority area. CWD is an unprecedented threat to healthy deer herds – it is an always fatal brain disease that affects members of the deer family (cervids) and is caused by prions (misshaped proteins) that create holes in the brain and eventually lead to death. Quick, decisive action by state and federal wildlife management agencies is necessary to manage and slow the spread of the disease. But state wildlife agencies are typically under-staffed and under-funded, and this financial deficit is only bolstered by a decline in hunting license sales and hunter participation nationwide.

“NDA works at the forefront of CWD research and policy, and without a doubt, state wildlife agencies are hindered in their ability to manage CWD by a lack of funding.” said Torin Miller, NDA’s policy and outreach coordinator. “It’s critically important that Congress invest significantly in state agency CWD response strategies and conservation as a whole.”

NDA is proud to stand alongside other conservation leaders in urging lawmakers to increase funding to state wildlife agencies for the purposes of containing the spread of CWD in free-ranging deer. Reach out to your lawmakers and encourage them to support and invest in deer, deer hunters and wildlife conservation.