NDA Serves on Panel at D.C. Policy Luncheon on CWD
NDA president and CEO, Nick Pinizzotto, served as a panelist on Thursday at a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill hosted by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. The policy luncheon featured a moderated roundtable discussion with policymakers, and leaders of both the wild deer community and deer farmers. The panel discussed the disease from varying perspectives and identified key areas that should be considered when developing legislation to provide assistance to our nation’s wildlife managers.
In his opening statement, Pinizzotto said, “While we originally set out to tackle several priority areas for the future of deer and deer hunting when we launched NDA, chronic wasting disease (CWD) quickly emerged as our top priority.” He added, “We spend about 80 percent of our time on the issue, but we are committed to doing whatever it takes to help address the biggest threat to deer, hunting, and conservation in our lifetimes.”
Other panelist included Bryan Burhans, executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and Shawn Schafer, executive director of the North American Deer Farmer’s Association. Burhans talked about the impacts CWD has on state agencies, ranging from excessive expenses that rob from other important conservation programs to working with a skeptical and sometimes unsupportive hunting community. Schafer’s comments focused on the challenges that private deer farms face and how it is impacting the industry.
Pinizzotto concluded his remarks by stating, “This disease matters to everyone from deer hunters to general wildlife enthusiasts. CWD isn’t going away, and simply hoping that it does is not a viable strategy. We need to get comfortable being uncomfortable and recognize that a long-term strategy for containing the disease while solutions continue to evolve with improved science is the prudent path forward. Of course, this means a long-term financial commitment must be made in parallel.”
Sponsors of the event included Archery Trade Association, Association for Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Bass Pro Shops, Boone and Crockett Club, Mule Deer Foundation, National Deer Alliance, National Shooting Sports Foundation, North American Deer Farmers Association, Quality Deer Management Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Whitetails Unlimited.