Recently Introduced Federal Bills Allocate $45 Million to Address CWD

January 19, 2018 | by National Deer Alliance

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) represents the single largest threat to wild deer. Period. Anyone who says otherwise is disillusioned. Thankfully, some rational lawmakers agree. House Bill 4454, the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act, and its sister bill in the Senate, S. 2252, the Chronic Wasting Disease Support for States Act, were recently introduced on Capitol Hill. The National Deer Alliance, along with other key partners, provided significant input on the drafting of this important legislation.

The bills are designed to "support State and tribal efforts to develop and implement management strategies to address chronic wasting disease among deer, elk, and moose populations, to support applied research regarding the causes of chronic wasting disease and methods to control the further spread of the disease, and for other purposes." Essentially, the bills provide $35,000,000 to the Secretary of Agriculture to appropriate to the States and tribal agencies for the management of CWD both long-term and in rapid response to threats of spreading.

“As the States move to manage existing levels of chronic wasting disease and insulate noninfected wild and captive cervid populations from the disease, the Federal Government should endeavor to provide integrated and holistic financial and technical support to these States and the many State departments of wildlife, State departments of agriculture, colleges and universities, and related research centers conducting scientific applied research regarding chronic wasting disease,” the bills read.

Additionally, another $10,000,000 will be available to fund grants that support the following research:

  • Sustainable cervid harvest management practices to reduce chronic wasting disease occurrence and to prevent or limit spatial spread of chronic wasting disease.
  • Management experiments and strategies designed for long-term suppression of chronic wasting disease.
  • Harvest management practices and other practices that exacerbate chronic wasting disease occurrence, with an emphasis on retrospective analyses of available harvest management and chronic wasting disease trend data.
  • Factors contributing to local emergence of chronic wasting disease, increased prevalence of chronic wasting disease, and distribution of chronic wasting disease, including mechanisms of disease transmission and effective barriers to transmission.
  • Methods and products to effectively detect infectious prions in, and decontaminate infectious prions from natural environments and inorganic surfaces.

The National Deer Alliance (NDA) outlines deer diseases and wild deer conservation among its key initiatives. These two bills provide much needed funds to States and tribal agencies to manage and research CWD and its impacts on wild deer populations. As stated above, CWD represents the single largest threat to wild deer, and the NDA supports the directing of funds to more CWD management and research. Certainly, this type of legislation is long overdue. 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.

Join the NDA in support of H.R. 4454 and S. 2252; visit the NDA Grassroots Advocacy Center, where you can place your vote of support for the bill and directly email your state’s federal lawmakers. With just a few minutes and a few mouse clicks, your voice will be heard.