The National Deer Association (NDA) applauds Thursday’s introduction of the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act in the United States Senate. The bill’s introduction serves as a companion to the House of Representatives version, which passed the House in December. The NDA is proud to endorse the legislation, joining a strong group of conservation and industry organizations. The Act 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.
“We appreciate the initiative taken by Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) in introducing comprehensive CWD legislation that will support state and federal research and management of the disease,” said Nick Pinizzotto, NDA President and CEO. “CWD represents the most significant threat to deer and deer hunting, and managing it requires a comprehensive effort by hunters at the grassroots level as well as local, state, and federal agencies and decision makers. Passage of this bill would be helpful in that regard.”
Like the House bill, the Senate companion authorizes $70 million annually from Fiscal Year 2022 through Fiscal Year 2028 for research and management of CWD, with the money to be split evenly between research and management. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will administer the funds through cooperative agreements. The bill also includes authorization for USDA and state and tribal agencies to develop educational materials to inform the public on CWD and directs USDA to review its herd certification program (HCP) within 18 months of the bill’s passage.
NDA’s mission is to ensure the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat and hunting, and deer diseases is outlined as a critical focus area. Slowing the spread of CWD is of primary concern as the disease is one of the largest threats to wildlife conservation that we have encountered over the last century. Through our extensive work on this issue across North America, we know that proactive research and monitoring is critically important to the management of the disease and wild deer, elk, and moose herds. To accomplish this, we welcome federal support to assist with research and testing efforts by wildlife managers.
The introduction of the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act in the Senate following quick House passage last fall is a huge step towards increasing federal leadership and assistance in combating CWD. Strong bipartisan support and quick movement in both chambers is proof of the importance of wild deer to the American people and the direness of this always-fatal disease. The NDA will continue advocate for the bill’s passage in the Senate and signing by the President.