Mississippi Wildlife Federation cites Chronic Wasting Disease as reason for opposition to pending legislative bill, and Rabies reports from North Carolina and Virginia.

White-tailed deer. Courtesy U.S.D.A. Agricultural Research Service.

Mississippi 01/24/11 nems360.com: A bill pending before the state Senate would authorize the raising of genetically enhanced deer on breeding farms in Mississippi.  The bill, approved last week by the Senate Wildlife Committee, would allow the import and export of farm-raised white tail deer, including semen, ova, and embryos.  Sen. Tommy Gollott, a Republican from Biloxi, tells WLBT-TV in Jackson that the practice could bring millions to the state annually.  He says Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Alabama already engage in this buying, selling, and hunting of white tail deer.  “It will allow the small farms to have enclosures where they can raise these deer, sell the deer, buy deer from outside the state of Mississippi,” Gollott said.  The Mississippi Wildlife Federation is against the practice saying it could cause contamination.  “It’s happened in other states where they have pin raised deer where you have things like chronic wasting disease that can be passed to our native white-tail deer,” said MWF director Kathy Shropshire.  Gollott said the state veterinarian would oversee each operation, which would be required to buy an annual license.

North Carolina 01/24/11 the-dispatch.com: A rabid fox found Jan. 13 in northwestern Davidson County has become the first case of rabies for the year, according to the county health department.  The fox in the Clemmons community was in a fight with a dog that was not properly vaccinated. The fox was killed by the owner of the dog. The dog has been destroyed. There was no human exposure reported.  If there are stray dogs, cats or wildlife in your neighborhood, call Animal Control at 249-0131. Call the Rabies Hotline at 242-2348 if you or your pet comes in contact with another animal.

Virginia 01/24/11 wric.com: Health officials have confirmed Roanoke’s first rabies case of the year.  The Virginia Department of Health said Monday that a rabid raccoon was found Friday in the city.  The state agency is asking residents to contact the Roanoke City Health Department if they know of any possible human or animal contact with the raccoon.  As of Monday, no exposures have been reported.

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3 responses to “Mississippi Wildlife Federation cites Chronic Wasting Disease as reason for opposition to pending legislative bill, and Rabies reports from North Carolina and Virginia.

  1. Charles S. Conner

    My basic objections to the proposed bill currently before the Mississippi Legislature’s Senate Committee would be:

    1) the previously wild animals that were suppose to belong to all residents, e.g. the “public trust” – would be used by private interests;

    2.) allowing individual or private breeding programs for Cervids would inject the potential for some individuals to illegally import animals for their breeding program(s) in order to eliminate the need to AI their captive females – thereby increasing the chance for importing CWD into the State’s deer population; and

    3) the controlled private breeding process injects a slay-for-pay element into the former “fair chase” context of sport hunting, a one-upsmanship of competition which would arguably improve the odds for the wealthy to collect a better trophy animal than the average citizen would have the opportunity to bag; in addition to the process utilizing a formerly-public resource for private gain.

    The landowners’ argument that it’s my land and I can do whatever I want to with the animals thereon, is moot IF the Legislature upholds the “public trust” theory – which they have not done for the individual-non-land-owning citizen to date.

    Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2011/04/05/3003593/state-officials-take-issue-with.html#ixzz1Il3ItF2r

  2. Charles S. Conner

    Here’s why I have long been concerned about the potential impact of CWD.

    Live deer and elk have been imported into nearly every state by individuals who either wanting to privately breed big bucks and/or farm them as specialty meats for domestic and export markets.

    This unique disease found in deer, elk, and cattle, belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), a prions disease (abnormally shaped proteins), first recognized in captive mule deer in Colorado during the late 1960s.

    The first CWD diagnosis in captive elk was made in Saskatchewan in 1996, but the disease has been generally recognized in free-ranging deer and elk (the cervid family) since the early 1980s, in northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming.

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a degenerative neurological (brain) disease which is generally a fatal to infected deer and elk, and at least for now, there is no known cure. The disease poses a very real threat for some big game species, and scientists remain somewhat uncertain as to whether or not any other TSE it can be cross transmitted with domestic livestock.

    Researchers in European who have been dealing with that continent’s “mad cow” crisis believe America should pay much more attention to chronic wasting disease (CWD) – very similar to BSE and a potentially devastating epidemic for at least one family of North America wildlife.

    The congressionally chartered Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recently released study by into mad cow and related neurological diseases and presents the threat in no uncertain terms. The bottom line for hunters and conservationists, according to the Institute – we may be toying with an environmental “time bomb.”

    Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that people, cattle and other livestock appear resistant to transmission of CWD. There have been no verified cases of people getting the human form of TSE known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD or any known variant) from exposure to CWD, even though deer and elk hunters have likely been eating animals from the heavily infected areas of Colorado and Wyoming for at least 20 years.

    Meanwhile, the bottom line remains – We still don’t know, what we don’t know about CWD.

  3. Charles S. Conner

    I personally knew this Arkansas hunter/shooter, who annually traveled to Colorado to hunt.

    During the fall of 2002, an Arkansas hunter killed a mule deer in Colorado and brought it back to Arkansas for processing, before a scientific test confirmed that it had chronic wasting disease.

    Bagged near the epicenter of what has been known as the nation’s hot spot for the disease – northeastern Colorado – that out-of-state hunter voluntarily left a portion of the deer’s brain and spine to be tested for CWD by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, but returned home before the results were known.

    The deer had been processed in Arkansas by the time Colorado officials notified the hunter of the infection. The hunter contacted U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service agents who in turn contacted the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Wildlife officials joined with the state’s Livestock and Poultry Commission to contact the processor, seize, and later incinerate that deer’s meat.

    Arkansas officials later explain to the public that they were just being “overly cautious” by having the meat destroyed. However, earlier that summer AGFC had already passed a law making it illegal to import, ship, transport or carry into the state, by any means, any “live” member of the cervid family, including but not limited to, white-tailed deer and elk.

    Donny Harris, then-AG&FC’s chief of wildlife management warned: “If this disease entered the state, deer management as we know it would change dramatically.” And if it did: “Our goal then would be to eliminate infected herds.”

    With their natural movements, chronic wasting disease (CWD) has continued to spread into deer and elk populations, both farmed and wild, located.

    Today, confirmed cases have been documented in at least Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

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