July 1, 2019

House Natural Resources Subcommittee Holds Chronic Wasting Disease Hearing

On June 25, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing in the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a priority issue for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF).

This hearing provided an opportunity for members of the House Natural Resources Committee to learn more about the critical need to stop the spread of CWD in order to maintain healthy cervid herds. The Committee heard from a number of individuals, all of whom highlighted the lack of reliable data on the pathways and transmission of CWD. The Subcommittee Chairman, Congressman TJ Cox (CA), opened the hearing by noting the last CWD focused hearing the Committee held was in 2002.

Prior to the hearing, CSF and 37 other organizations submitted a letter to urge House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva and Ranking Member Rob Bishop to advance legislation that would help address CWD.

Since first identified in 1967, CWD has been detected in 26 states as well as several Canadian provinces. CWD is a contagious, neurological disease affecting members of the cervid family, including deer, elk, and moose. The disease is easily spread and is always fatal. Detections of CWD are becoming more common across the country, and the alarming spread of this disease is likely to increase in the coming years. There is no known vaccine or cure.

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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