The Boone and Crockett Club today announced that it has released a new position statement on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The position affirms the best way to prevent CWD introduction and establishment is to prohibit all human-assisted live cervid movements.
“The Club has been closely involved with ongoing research about CWD,” said Dr. Josh Millspaugh, Boone and Crockett Professor of Wildlife Conservation at the University of Montana. “With what we know today about how this deadly disease is transmitted and the potential for introduction to new areas, we urge states to adopt the conclusions, recommendations and Best Management Practices of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA).”
Most deer and elk are transported for the purpose of establishing or re-stocking commercial shooting preserves and game farms. State wildlife officials also transport live animals to replenish areas with reduced populations or establish new populations. Sometimes these transports are done in cooperation with local and national conservation organizations. All transportation of live cervid movements are covered by AFWA’s recommendations.
CWD is now found in 25 states, three Canadian provinces, Norway, and South Korea. CWD is not caused by a virus or bacteria that can be treated and cured. It is a protein that is picked up through contact with infected animals or their surroundings. CWD is always fatal. It attacks an animal’s nervous system, taking as long as two years before the animal begins to show outward signs of the disease. Currently there is no vaccine or practical way to test live animals for the disease.
“Without a practical and reliable test to determine if live animals have CWD, this is an action that should be taken,” explained Millspaugh. “Unknowingly transporting infected animals leads to accelerating the unnatural spread of this disease. We applaud the several states that have already adopted this policy and we’re encouraging others to do the same.”
The Club’s new position statement can be read at this link: Boone and Crockett Club Position Statement.