TRCP and National Deer Alliance Join Forces to Address Federal Response to Chronic Wasting Disease

June 15, 2018 | by National Deer Alliance

Together the organizations will lead the sportsmen’s community in advocating for policies to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and National Deer Alliance are proud to announce they have formally joined forces to fight the spread of chronic wasting disease and secure the future of deer hunting and conservation funding in America.

“CWD represents the most significant threat to deer, elk and moose today, and its spread can have a profound impact on the way we manage all wildlife in the country,” says Nick Pinizzotto, president and CEO of the National Deer Alliance. “I’m proud to be working with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and I’m thankful for its leadership on this critical issue. This partnership will allow us to make an ever bigger impact with Congress and key federal agencies, which will help ensure a bright future for deer and hunters across the country.”

According to the most recent survey published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 80 percent of all hunters pursue big game, and these sportsmen and women contribute heavily to conservation through the purchase of licenses and payment of federal excise taxes that fund state management of wildlife. Hunters spent $25.6 billion in 2016 on trips, licenses, and equipment, sustaining outdoor recreation jobs and small businesses.

Uncertainty about CWD and possible loss of hunting opportunities could irreparably alter the strength of the hunting industry, local economies in deer hunting destinations, and conservation funds for all of North America.

“TRCP’s mission is to guarantee all Americans quality places to hunt and fish, which means quality habitat, healthy wildlife populations, and abundant access to facilitate our best days afield—the fight to curb CWD underscores all of these efforts,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

“This epidemic is a significant threat to the deer herds of North America and, therefore, to the future of conservation funding in the United States and deer hunting as we know it. By throwing our lot in with the National Deer Alliance, one of our most active and invested partners working on CWD, we have pledged to use our strengths as an organization to advance strategic, science-based policies and guidelines to slow the spread of the disease.”

Among the partners’ priorities is to bring together leaders from hunting and conservation communities to collaborate on an action plan for stemming the spread of CWD and securing robust federal funding for disease research and detection.

In April and May 2018, the Archery Trade Association, National Wildlife Federation, Quality Deer Management Association, and Wildlife Management Institute joined the TRCP and NDA in driving individual comments from sportsmen and women to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service as the agency considered changes to CWD regulations for deer farms.

More than 1,000 hunters called for APHIS to take real and meaningful steps to strengthen standards, rather than allow the captive deer industry to write its own rules. And 29 groups signed a joint letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on April 12.

Learn more about these efforts here.