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Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act Passed by House of Representatives

Wildlife conservationists applaud yesterday's passage of the historic bill by the House of Representatives.

Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act Passed by House of Representatives

Researchers in a Michigan DNR laboratory are busy collecting lymph nodes from hunter donated deer heads for CWD testing. (Photo courtesy of the National Deer Association)

Back in October, H.R. 5608, otherwise known as the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act, was unanimously passed the House Agriculture Committee shortly after its introduction. On December 8, the House of Representatives passed the Act by a vote of 393 to 33. The bill will support management efforts and research to combat chronic wasting disease (CWD), which is a contagious, neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose that is always fatal.

The bill authorizes $70 million annually from Fiscal Year 2022 through Fiscal Year 2028 for research and management of CWD. This allowance is to be split evenly between the necessary research and management efforts. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will administer the funds through cooperative agreements. The bill includes authorization for USDA, and state and tribal agencies, to develop educational materials to help inform the public on CWD. The bill will also direct USDA to review its herd certification program (HCP) within 18 months of the bill’s passage.

In a recent statement, Torin Miller, the National Deer Association’s Director of Policy commented, “CWD is the biggest threat to deer and deer hunting we’ve encountered, and Representatives [Don] Kind and [Glenn] Thompson fully recognize that threat and the need to combat it.”

Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act Passed by House of Representatives
One of the important aspects of the federal legislation is increased funding for greater testing and monitoring, which is sorely needed across the country. (Photo courtesy of the National Deer Association)

The NDA and other non-profit organizations such as the Boone and Crockett Club, are dedicated to ensuring the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat and hunting. 

Combatting deer diseases should be a critical focus for all North American hunters but slowing the spread of CWD is of primary concern. CWD is one of the largest threats to wildlife conservation that we have encountered over the last century. Therefore, proactive research and monitoring is critically important to the management of the disease and wild deer herds. Undoubtedly, federal leadership and coordination for these research and testing efforts is necessary.

Boone and Crockett Club President James F. Arnold noted, “This bill will get wildlife managers and researchers the resources they need to continue the fight against CWD. We at the Boone and Crockett Club thank members of the U.S. House of Representatives for taking action to protect our native deer species.”

The bill’s passage out of committee was followed quickly by its hearing and passage on the House floor – proof of the importance of wild deer to the American people and the direness of this always-fatal disease. Wildlife conservationists from all over will continue to advocate for the bill’s passage in the Senate and signing by the President.

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