On November 15, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Member Senator John Barrasso (WY) introduced S. 3644, the Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission in Cervidae Study Act.
Joining Sen. Barrasso in a bipartisan showing of support for the bill were nine original co-sponsors, eight of whom are Members of the CSC, including Caucus Co-Chair, Sen. Joe Manchin (WV). The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and pairs with similar legislation (H.R. 6272) introduced in the House earlier this year by CSC Member Congressman Ralph Abraham (LA).
Since first identified in 1967, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been documented in both wild and farmed cervid populations in 25 states and several Canadian provinces. With new detections of CWD in both wild populations and farmed herds in areas that had previously been CWD-free this 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.
This legislation would address this void by requiring the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, to request a study by the National Academy of Sciences. The goals of such study are multi-faceted and include: identifying pathways and mechanisms for the transmission of CWD; identifying both anthropogenic and environmental factors that contribute to its spread; identifying gaps in current scientific knowledge and prioritizing future research needs; and reviewing the current best management practices regarding the 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?