Pennsylvania imposes ban on deer, elk imports

spectr17

Administrator
Admin
Joined
Mar 11, 2001
Messages
69,719
Reaction score
552
Game officials ban deer, elk imports to prevent wasting disease

By ELLEN R. STAPLETON, Associated Press Writer

7/31/02

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Pennsylvania Game Commission is imposing a ban on all live deer and elk imports to protect the animals from a deadly disease that has appeared in nine states and two Canadian provinces.

Chronic wasting disease, which affects the animals' nervous systems and causes them to grow thin and die, reached across the Mississippi River for the first time in February when it was discovered in Wisconsin.

Pennsylvania will join about 20 other states with similar bans when the measure takes effect Aug. 1.

"We are fortunate here in this state that we currently have no confirmed or suspected cases of chronic wasting disease in Pennsylvania's wild or captive herds," Vern Ross, the commission's executive director, said at a news conference Tuesday. "And we want it to stay that way."

The state got a scare last fall, however, when a Pennsylvania farm received several elk from a Colorado farm identified as a source of the disease. All animals at risk for infection had to be killed and tested, and the results were negative, Ross said.

"This was a wake-up call that demonstrated that Pennsylvania's borders were wide open for the introduction of this disease," Ross said.

The state Agriculture Department had set a temporary ban on imports from states with a history of the disease in January. The department estimates that less than 100 deer are imported to Pennsylvania each year, said David Overcash, director of the commission's law enforcement bureau.

The state's wild deer population is about 1 million, with almost 800 wild elk. There are also 700 deer and 90 elk farms.

Kenneth E. Brandt, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Deer Farmers Association, said the industry supports the ban because the primary concern is the animals' health.

"This is constraining on our business," Brandt said. "But without healthy animals, we don't have a business."

First identified in 1967, chronic wasting disease is related to mad cow disease but is not known to affect humans or other types of livestock. Officials believe the disease is transmitted by animal-to-animal contact. Symptoms include depression, uncoordinated movement, rough hair, weight loss, increased thirst and excessive drooling.

"If CWD reaches Pennsylvania, it could have devastating impacts not only on the long and proud tradition of hunting, but on the state's economy as well," Ross said.

In Wisconsin, authorities are addressing the problem by destroying and testing 42,000 deer this fall, at a cost of several million dollars. The state has received $3.5 million in federal assistance and is seeking an additional $18.5 million.

Pennsylvania officials are concerned because no one knows how the disease moved across several states to Wisconsin. Other cases have turned up in Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming.

"This disease has jumped 600 to 900 miles and nobody has a good explanation of why," said Bob Boyd, assistant director of the commission's wildlife management bureau.

The commission plans to test all elk killed by hunters this fall and a random sample of about 300 deer to make sure no cases of the disease have entered the state.

---

On the Net:

Pennsylvania Game Commission: http://www.pgc.state.pa.us
 

spectr17

Administrator
Admin
Joined
Mar 11, 2001
Messages
69,719
Reaction score
552
Game officials ban deer, elk imports to prevent wasting disease

By ELLEN R. STAPLETON, Associated Press Writer

7/31/02

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Pennsylvania Game Commission is imposing a ban on all live deer and elk imports to protect the animals from a deadly disease that has appeared in nine states and two Canadian provinces.

Chronic wasting disease, which affects the animals' nervous systems and causes them to grow thin and die, reached across the Mississippi River for the first time in February when it was discovered in Wisconsin.

Pennsylvania will join about 20 other states with similar bans when the measure takes effect Aug. 1.

"We are fortunate here in this state that we currently have no confirmed or suspected cases of chronic wasting disease in Pennsylvania's wild or captive herds," Vern Ross, the commission's executive director, said at a news conference Tuesday. "And we want it to stay that way."

The state got a scare last fall, however, when a Pennsylvania farm received several elk from a Colorado farm identified as a source of the disease. All animals at risk for infection had to be killed and tested, and the results were negative, Ross said.

"This was a wake-up call that demonstrated that Pennsylvania's borders were wide open for the introduction of this disease," Ross said.

The state Agriculture Department had set a temporary ban on imports from states with a history of the disease in January. The department estimates that less than 100 deer are imported to Pennsylvania each year, said David Overcash, director of the commission's law enforcement bureau.

The state's wild deer population is about 1 million, with almost 800 wild elk. There are also 700 deer and 90 elk farms.

Kenneth E. Brandt, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Deer Farmers Association, said the industry supports the ban because the primary concern is the animals' health.

"This is constraining on our business," Brandt said. "But without healthy animals, we don't have a business."

First identified in 1967, chronic wasting disease is related to mad cow disease but is not known to affect humans or other types of livestock. Officials believe the disease is transmitted by animal-to-animal contact. Symptoms include depression, uncoordinated movement, rough hair, weight loss, increased thirst and excessive drooling.

"If CWD reaches Pennsylvania, it could have devastating impacts not only on the long and proud tradition of hunting, but on the state's economy as well," Ross said.

In Wisconsin, authorities are addressing the problem by destroying and testing 42,000 deer this fall, at a cost of several million dollars. The state has received $3.5 million in federal assistance and is seeking an additional $18.5 million.

Pennsylvania officials are concerned because no one knows how the disease moved across several states to Wisconsin. Other cases have turned up in Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming.

"This disease has jumped 600 to 900 miles and nobody has a good explanation of why," said Bob Boyd, assistant director of the commission's wildlife management bureau.

The commission plans to test all elk killed by hunters this fall and a random sample of about 300 deer to make sure no cases of the disease have entered the state.

---

On the Net:

Pennsylvania Game Commission: http://www.pgc.state.pa.us
 
Top Bottom