Indiana DNR announces deer import ban

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Deer importation banned
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Emergency rule designed to prevent spread of disease
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IDNR

4/18/02

Beginning this week, deer, elk and other cervid species are prohibited from
importation into Indiana. The emergency rule, adopted by the members of the
Indiana State Board of Animal Health, is an effort to protect the state's
free-ranging and farm-raised deer from chronic wasting disease.

On July 2, at their next regular meeting, Board members will again vote on a
permanent version of the rule that would extend the suspension of all such
imports though May 1, 2003. A public hearing will be held prior to the vote,
when written and oral comments will be considered.

The proposed one-year moratorium on imports generated broad-ranging support
from the farm-raised deer and elk industries, as well as conservation and
wildlife groups and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

"While a one-year suspension falls short of a permanent solution, this
action affords us time to assess the rapidly changing events occurring
nationally regarding CWD," said Indiana State Veterinarian Dr. Bret D.
Marsh. "Because so little is known about how this disease is transmitted and
live-animal diagnostics are currently nonexistent, we feel this is our best
option for protecting Indiana's cervid industry and natural resources until
science can provide us more answers."

Chronic wasting disease, also known as CWD, is an always-fatal brain-wasting
condition that affects animals in the cervid family, including elk, and
various types of deer. Little is known about the slow-progressing disease
that is part of the category of illnesses known as transmissible
encephalopathies. This category includes unrelated diseases such as
Cruetzfeld-Jakob disease in humans and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (or
"mad cow" disease) in cattle. CWD has no known human health effects. On
going research has not yet identified a cure or live-animal test for CWD.

Although the disease has never been diagnosed in Indiana, seven states and
two Canadian provinces have reported positive cases in captive and/or
free-ranging animals. Concern about the spread of the disease in the United
States has heightened recently at the discovery of several infected deer in
Wisconsin last month.

Indiana State Board of Animal Health and Department of Natural Resources
staff members plan to launch a CWD surveillance program in Indiana this year
to verify the health status of white-tailed deer populations.

Written comments on the proposed rule are being accepted through the close
of the comment period on July 2.

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Media Contact:
Denise Derrer,
Board of Animal Health
317-227-0308
 

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