Why It Matters: Chronic Wasting Disease is a progressive, degenerative, and always fatal neurological disease occurring in both farmed and free-ranging deer, elk, and moose (cervids) populations. Roughly 80% of hunters in the United States participate in some form of deer, elk, or moose hunting, and as such, it is critical that we stop the spread of CWD and ultimately reduce its presence on the landscape. Unfortunately, due to the lack of information surrounding CWD, this is a difficult task for our nation’s federal, state, and tribal wildlife managers.
- On Thursday, January 26, the Oregon House Committee on Agriculture, Land, Natural Resources and Water held a public hearing on House Bill 2532, which would appropriate money to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon State University for purposes related to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) testing and research.
- With Chronic Wasting Disease on Oregon’s border, sportsmen and women are concerned about the deleterious effects that CWD would have on healthy ungulate populations and habitat. If passed, HB 2532 would provide vital funding that would allow for in-state testing, increased research capacity, and increased staffing specific to sample collection and processing.
- The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Oregon Hunters Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and nearly a dozen partner organizations joined together to submit a letter to the Oregon House Committee to encourage the passage of HB 2532.
With Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) on Oregon’s border, the sportsmen and women’s community in the Beaver State are proactively advocating for increased funding for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon State University to provide in-state testing and research through the passage of HB 2532. The threats posed by CWD to wildlife and conservation are serious and sizeable enough that specific resources are needed to ensure a robust, coordinated response.
Currently, Oregon sends all CWD samples collected by hunters to Colorado State University for testing. The turnaround time for tests is 3-4 weeks, on average. With CWD getting closer and closer to Oregon, the state is in need of increased personnel to assist in sample collection, process sample results, and establish in-state testing. Oregon State University has agreed to incorporate CWD testing into the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Lab to facilitate in-state testing. If passed, HB 2532 would provide funding for ODFW and OSU to establish these in-state testing facilities, increase research capacity, and increase staffing specific to sample collection and processing.
Additionally, the funds allocated from General Fund under HB 2532 could also be used to help secure matching federal funds that are available for CWD research– the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Research and Management Act was recently included in the Omnibus Budget Bill and appropriates $19.5 million for CWD efforts in 2023.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation joined with Oregon Hunters Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Ducks Unlimited, Advocates for Sustainable Animal Populations, Oregon Wild Sheep Foundation, Oregon Trappers Association, Fur Takers of America, Oregon Pack Works, and National Deer Association to submit written testimony to the Oregon House Committee in support of HB 2532 and will continue to support this vital legislation as it continues through the legislative process.