MADISON, WI (WSAU) - Wisconsin received official approval to implement a federal herd certification program for chronic wasting disease, or CWD, in farmed or captive deer. That approval announced yesterday by the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.
The department’s chief veterinarian Dr. Bob Ehlenfeldt says Wisconsin’s rules received approval from the federal government over the weekend.
He says herd managers have been pushing for a standardized rule for over a decade. "Industry has wanted some clear cut federal standards that would kind of eliminate the checkerboard of state's requirements. The states are still free to set requirements that are stricter than USDA, they can't be less restrictive. Most of the states will simply adopt USDA guidelines or requirements as their rules."
He says they continue studying CWD and have learned there are precautions to take when moving deer, moose, or elk but there is certainly no health risk to humans. "In the last ten years of dealing with CWD, while we don't know everything about it, we know a lot more about the disease, the spread, and the risks, and the fact that there doesn't really appear to be any kind of a public health risk here."
Ehlenfeldt says Wisconsin has had a herd status program for several years, so making the transition to the federal program should be smooth. He says about 400 of Wisconsin’s 600 or so managed deer herds are already in the program.
Wisconsin and South Dakota have now signed on to the federal guidelines or stricter guidelines of their own. Several other states are preparing to adopt the same guidelines.
If you want more on the CWD Herd Certification Program, we have links for you here:
For more information about the federal CWD Herd Certification Program, visit http://datcp.wi.gov/Farms/Deer_Farming/index.aspx