On November 21, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Member Congressman Ron Kind (WI) and Congressman Jamie Sensenbrenner (WI) introduced the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act (H.R. 4454).
This bipartisan piece of legislation will help support state and tribal efforts to develop and implement strategies to address Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer, elk, and moose. Likewise, it will support research efforts into the causes of, and methods to control, the further spread of the disease.
Categorized as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), CWD is a progressive, degenerative, and fatal disease occurring in farmed and free-ranging cervids. Other examples of TSEs include “mad cow” disease and Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease. CWD is a very slow and progressive disease that has been detected in 21 states in wild cervid populations. At this time, funding for adequate surveillance and detection is limited, and often requires already financially burdened state fish and wildlife agencies to divert funds from other programs.
H.R. 4454 will help provide additional funding for these agencies and will provide managers with a more accurate assessment of the current impacts of this disease to better inform management decisions. Additionally, this legislation will address a current dearth in research funding to assist in the furthering of solutions for curing this disease.
“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has long recognized that increased attention to, and funding for, regular screening and testing of cervids at the state level is necessary to ensure a timely response is possible in the event of a Chronic Wasting Disease outbreak,” said CSF Senior Director of Northeastern States Brent Miller. “We commend the leadership of Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Congressman Kind, and Congressman Sensenbrenner on this critical wildlife management issue.”
Specifically, this bill will direct the Secretary of Agriculture to authorize $35 million to provide critical funding to state and tribal wildlife agencies and agricultural agencies to implement management strategies to address CWD. Additionally, this legislation will make grants available for entities that participate in the research of this disease through the United States Department of Agriculture, and will direct the land management agencies of the Departments of Agriculture and Interior to work collaboratively with state agencies to address the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?