Action Alert: Support CWD Prevention Measures in Minnesota

March 28, 2023 By: Torin Miller

Minnesota Senate File 1526 (SF 1526, House companion HF 1202) contains multiple provisions that tighten regulations with respect to captive deer herds in an effort to curb the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Minnesota.

The National Deer Association (NDA) outlines deer diseases as a critical focus area and 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. As many states have learned, preventing the spread of this always-fatal disease is a daunting task and early detection and rapid response once the disease is found is critical for long-term management. SF 1526 and HF 1202, through strong captive cervid provisions, could help Minnesota in its fight against CWD.


Please considering joining NDA in supporting these important bills. SF 1526 and HF 1202 contain multiple provisions that will help curb the spread of CWD in Minnesota, and doing so early and rapidly is critical. CLICK HERE to ask your lawmakers to vote YEA on the bills.


Specifically, the bills:

  1. Establish the requirement that commercially farmed white-tailed deer must be confined by two or more perimeter fences, with each perimeter fence at least 120 inches in height;
  2. Prohibit the Board of Animal Health (BAH) from issuing new registrations for the possession of captive white-tailed deer;
  3. Prohibit the movement of farmed white-tailed deer from any premises to another location;
  4. Establish new CWD testing protocol for captive deer facilities;
  5. Establish new procedures for captive deer facilities to comply with following the detection of CWD on the premises; and
  6. Transfer the responsibilities for administering and enforcing statutes and rules related to captive cervids from BAH to the commissioner of natural resources.

Additionally, the bills amend the existing statute with more strict language with respect to escaped farmed cervids procedures, farmed cervids identification requirements and cervid carcass transportation rules.

Limiting contact between captive and wild deer is crucial. Double fencing for commercial deer farms can help prevent the escape of farmed deer or entry into the premises by wild deer, and also contact between farmed and wild herds through a fence. Similarly, the prohibitions of new registrations for captive herds and the movement of captive white-tailed deer from any premises to another location will aid in limiting the spread of the disease and reduce the opportunity for contact between captive and wild deer. Finally, new and stronger CWD testing protocol will help to ensure that CWD-positive individuals are not transported, released or disposed of in a manner that poses a threat to wild deer in Minnesota.

About Torin Miller:

Torin Miller is a licensed attorney and NDA’s Senior Director of Policy. He works at the intersection of conservation and natural resources law, policy, advocacy and education. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University and a J.D. from Penn State Law. Torin came to NDA via the National Deer Alliance, where he served as the Policy and Outreach Coordinator.