April 2, 2015

Groups Address Wildlife Disease Control

On March 27, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and nine other organizations, sent a letter to Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Member and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Senator Roy Blunt (MO), as well as Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, asking for support in controlling zoonotic diseases in wildlife.

Representing millions of sportsmen conservationists, livestock producers, and state and private academic research intuitions, this letter urged the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture to include language encouraging grants for zoonotic research to address bovine brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis in wildlife.

Because these diseases are transmissible between livestock and wildlife, and sometimes humans, measures for disease management research should be funded in order to develop a long-term resolution. The current strategy in response to disease outbreaks “by slaughtering or depopulating infected herds and populations” negatively affects economic and social values, involves the taking of healthy animals as well, and deprives those who benefit from the livestock industry and wildlife-related recreation community.

Under the Animal Health and Disease Research Initiative, the use of competitive grants for research to combat this national animal health issue would help develop a solution for responding to wildlife disease, while addressing economic and social values.

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?

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