Senate and House Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Members Introduce Bills for Critical Chronic Wasting Disease Research

Senator John Barrasso (WY) recently introduced a bill to authorize necessary research for states to better manage and limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in cervid populations.

Sen. Barrasso, Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman and Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Member, was joined by original cosponsors and fellow CSC Members Senators Mike Bennet (CO) and Doug Jones (AL).

The House companion bill, H.R. 837 was introduced by CSC Member Congressman Ralph Abraham (LA) on January 29.

Prior to introduction, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane submitted a letter of support  to Sen. Barrasso in strong support of this legislation. The letter stated, “Deer, elk, and moose are some of the most popular big game animals in North America. The recovery of these species from their historically low numbers at the close of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century is a battle that was hard-won on the backs of our nation’s original conservationists – sportsmen and women – through investments of time, resources, and capital through the American System of Conservation Funding. This legislation both exemplifies, and carries forward that rich conservation legacy, and we applaud you for your efforts.”

Since first identified in 1967, CWD has been documented in wild and/or farmed cervid populations in 26 states and three Canadian provinces. With new detections of CWD in both wild populations and farmed herds in areas that had previously been CWD-free last year, increased attention has been brought to the dearth of reliable data on CWD transmission pathways on which wildlife agencies can base their management strategies.

Sen. Barrasso stated, “Our bill gives wildlife managers the tools they need to research and identify exactly where chronic wasting disease is most prominent and how we can better prevent it. It’s a critical first step to addressing this debilitating disease and keeping our wildlife herds healthy.”

CSF will continue to work with CSC Members in the 116th Congress to advance these important bills in both the House and Senate to better manage CWD.

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