It’s true that Minnesota has a thriving hunting industry which includes hunting preserves, but to insinuate that hunting preserves are the source of CWD is grotesquely irresponsible.
Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, Virginia and Wyoming all have documented cases of CWD, yet none of these states have a farmed elk or deer industry. In fact, Wyoming has been dealing with the disease for more than 25 years.
The truth is that farmed deer are tested, monitored and documented more heavily and frequently than wild deer, so it makes sense that, if the disease exists, they will find it more often where they test. But because we find it there, doesn’t mean the disease originates there. It simply means that deer farmers’ testing and management controls are better.
It’s been proven that CWD has been transmitted by the migration of crows, spread by coyotes, and moved across state lines by the transportation of alfalfa and other crops.
We dealt with CWD for more than 20 years and it’s surprising to hear people still trying to fix blame. Instead, we should be focused on solutions which include a combination of vaccines, breeding for genetic resistance and nutrition.
Deer farming is one of the fastest growing industries in rural America, and the industry itself has worked closely with state and federal legislators for more than 20 years to develop a national CWD rule and standard testing practices.
Deer farmers have never been the source of the problem. Deer farmers are working to be the solution.
Shawn Schafer, Executive Director, North American Deer Farmers Association