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CWD spreads on deer and moose farms as Wisconsin's control strikes | Outside

2 Bucks is seen in September in one of the pencils at Wilderness Whitetail Breeding Farm in Rosholt, Wis. Lethal…


Bucks is seen in September in one of the pencils at Wilderness Whitetail Breeding Farm in Rosholt, Wis. Lethal chronic wastage disease has spread among Wisconsin wild and captive deer populations since 2002.

A rapidly growing number of chronic cases of chronic disease occurs in deer and zoos and hunting ranches in Wisconsin while the state has withdrawn rules and procedures for limiting the spread of the mortal brain disease among captivity and deceased.

Since 2013, when the Department of Agriculture, Commerce and Consumer Protection began to allow certain captive associations with infected animals to continue to function, further cases of CWD have evolved within these sites according to interviews and documents

After Gov. Scott Walker announced “aggressive new actions” against CWD, legislators reed Ted an emergency to restrict hunters from moving deer bodies from counties affected by fatal heart disease.

Meanwhile, improved fencing requirements are predominant for captivity with wild deer and other cervids including moose – but these proposals face strong resistance from property owners who say such a requirement is not guaranteed to stop the CWD proliferation and may put them out of service.



The national CWD expert Bryan Richards said that Wisconsin’s current approach to allowing plants with CWD infected animals to continue to pose a serious threat to the state’s deer population, which has seen more than 4,400 infected deer since the first CWD case in 2002.

Wisconsin now has more CWD positive deer farms than any other state in the nation, “said Richards, who works for the American Geological Survey at the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison.

There are nine CWD positive deer plants still on business – seven of which have seen additional cases of CWD on their DATCP register properties

“The presence of CWD in these facilities represents a clear, persistent and likely escalating risk for the dearth’s integrity on the other side of the fence, says Richards.

However, a top DATCP official said that the aim of the approach is to keep CWD down and away from the wild deer population. Until 2013, herds were killed at CWD-positive establishments in Wisconsin and the places were disinfected.

The new approach “is intended to alleviate the risk of moving the disease … outside the fence,” said Amy Horn-Delzer, veterinary program director.

Horn-Delzer added that it is up to the owners to manage the spread of disease within their own characteristics.

“We do not want to put any other breeding facilities in danger, “she said.” We do not want to put the wild deer in danger. So that’s the risk we’re looking at. “

The federal disease control and prevention centers say it is unclear whether this ever mortal disease can be transmitted to humans, although research has shown that eating meat from CWD-positive deer can infect macaque monkeys. Disease signals affecting deer and moose, include weight loss, triplets, drooling and aggression.

A map of 380 registered deer and zoos and hunting rigs in Wisconsin shows 23 deer and hunting ranches that have been infected with chronic wasting disease in October 2018. A 24th farm was found to be CWD positive in November.

There are 380 registered commercial deer and moose operations in Wisconsin spread across almost all counties in the state. Some of them have been around since the 1970s and are usually divided into two categories: breeding farms and hunting ranches.

Breeding farms raise deer to sell to slaughter and to rancher s about selling hunting experiences on fenced-in properties. They also sell deer to other breeding farms that want to introduce new genetic lines into their herds. The industry has long been the subject of criticism from some hunters who feel that hunting and chasing animals behind a fence gives hunters an unfair advantage in front of their byte.

There have been 300 CWD positive tests on 24 deer and hunting rights in Wisconsin, according to state records. Most of them have been found since 2013. The same year as DATCP, which shares the regulation of deer farms with the State Department of Nature Conservation, began to hunt ranches and breeding farms continue to function despite the fact that the disease is home.

A map from October 2018 shows the distribution of chronic wasted disease across North America.

By 2013 all animals were killed on commercial deer operations, which were positive for CWD. State legislation allows authorities to test animals and, if warranted, kill the crew to avoid the spread of disease. Owners can get up to $ 3,000 in state and federal support for each animal that is euthanized.

DATCP veterinarian DATCP, Darlene Konkle, said the agency has decided to take an individualized attitude rather than a blanket policy to depopulate the entire crew after a discovery.

“Since 2013, we have looked at each of these positive facilities (CWDs) on a case-by-case basis, and only looking at risks,” said Konkle.

Konkle said her agency held close to them. 19659008] “In one of these cases in a positive CWD facility, they are immediately quarantined as soon as we have confirmed the disease,” she said. “So, they must not move live animals on or off. So, there is the control method put into place immediately.

The hunting ranch is open despite 84 CWD cases

However, there are exceptions to the rule.

Wilderness Game Farm Inc. operates two cattle farms and hunting ranches in Portage County, hunting ranches in Marathon and Shawano County. 2013 there have been 84 cases of CWD at the Marathon County hunting ranch called Wilderness North.

Although they have more positive cases than any other prison deer operation in Wisconsin, the ranch continues to sell dogs that cost between $ 4,000 and $ 9,000 each, with an option for a “Gold Hunt” – no price listed – promising deer with 200-meter-wide alleys.

E-mail from Wilderness Game Farm Owner Greg Flees, then DATCP State Veterinarian Paul McGraw and Program Manager Horn-Delzer shows mandatory quarantine issued after 2013 the discovery allows Flees to move deer from their cattle farms, which did not have any CWD discoveries, to their hunting dishes. One of them, Comet Creek in Sh awano county has had six deer test positive for CWD since 2017.

In April, McGraw and Horn-Delzer also approved Flees & # 39; Ask to move deer, as he said, bear markers for genetic resistance to CWD to the highly infected Wilderness North property to test if they develop the disease. It is part of a research project in collaboration with a researcher from Midwestern University in Glendale, Ariz.

DATCP’s quarantine policy change was celebrated by Whitetails of Wisconsin, the State Advisory Group on Agriculture. On January 21, 2014, when WOW President Shannon Thiex warned members that their lobbying work had been paid.

“Last week, we felt we had a fight to get the crew in this state reduced from quarantine quarantines to individual animal wreckers,” wrote Thiex. “After a great cooperation on quarantine, we were announced today that DATCP would really work this week to just change quarantines to individual animals.”

Flees is a second generation deer user. He said that his family has grown garlic since the 1970s. Since then, Flees has become one of the most famous names in the horticultural industry in Wisconsin and throughout the country. Flees said when the test result came back positively from his Marathon County hunting ranch, he did not think so.

“Okay, we grabbed that property and we moved a lot of these deer, we never took deer from anywhere else, but this farm has never had a positive,” Flees said. “We added them to this property, and when they were in this landscape, suddenly we suddenly began to get some positive things. “

Flees said it is possible that CWD was already on the property or it was taken by binoculars, birds or feed products like corn or alfalfa. A study from 2015 shows that the malformed protein that causes CWD, called prion, can be taken from the soil to plants and infect deer.

Another potential transmission method is deer flying from CWD DATCP records show that 67 deer fled from Fairchild Whitetails in Eau Claire County between 2009 and 2015 before the 228 head was defeated. Among the flight were two money shot by hunters so I tested positive for CWD, reported Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.

Owner Rick Vojtik, who is also President of Whitetails of Wisconsin, was paid $ 298,770 of DATCP for the killed animals; He told Leader-Telegram that the crew was worth about $ 1 million. In total, 34 animals were tested positive for CWD.

According to USGS figures, nearly a quarter of all deer farms that have tested positive for CWD nationwide have been in Wisconsin. Richards said that the state put a precedent five years ago when it was allowed for Flees’ Wilderness North hunting conservation to continue functioning after deer began to get sick.

“So it was a very interesting change in philosophy and quite different from what had been done earlier over the rest of the country,” he said.

Emergency Regulations Proposed – Then Lost

In May, Walker announced a series of measures aimed at slowing the spread of CWD. He called on DATCP to draft an emergency rule that requires improved fencing and prohibits the movement of live deer from the state’s 55 counties, which are occupied as CWD, meaning either an infected deer had been detected there or within 10 miles from the county.

The Republican Governor also urged the state of the DNR to establish emergency rules that would have forbidden hunters from transporting deer bodies from counties that were occupied as CWD victims of unaffected counties.

Walker issued his directives before speaking to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, the state’s official citizen councils group on natural resource issues. By that time he said that the goal was to protect whitetail deer hunting.

“We must protect Wisconsin’s hunting traditions and long-standing legacy by collaborating to contain the spread of chronic wasteful disease in deer,” Walker said. 19659008] However, DATCP’s National Board of Directors, composed of Walker nominated, has voted for not taking any action on the Governor’s request for emergency rules. Now the agency is working on the longer, regular regulatory process to demand double or reinforced fencing for elk and other non-whitetail farms and prohibits farms from transporting live animals from CWD affected counties.


Wisconsin State Sen. Stephen Nass, R-Whitewater, has led the accusation against rules aimed at limiting the spread of chronic wasted disease.

The Natural Resource Board, also employed by Walker practitioners, continued with an emergency rule to require improved fencing, including a second 8 meter high fence or an electric fence for whitetail deer farms.

In October, the legislature made Republican Controlled Joint Committee for Administrative Administrative Review, which reviewed agency regulations, voted to maintain deforestation requirements for deer farms but eliminated DNR’s emergency rule that would have restricted the movement of deer bodies from CWD affected the county this hunting period.

While the survived committee, the DNR Fencing Rule had already been amended by the Agency’s National Board to give industry until September 2019 compliance with the new Regulation.

This time is significant because the emergency rule was promulgated on February 27, 2019. When DNR staff were asked about it, deer farmers could simply wait until the rule expires to avoid improved enforcement requirements, DNR Policy Advisory Advisor Scott Loomans said in one email that the agency is working on a permanent rule to avoid it.

“We are working on a companion’s permanent version of the CWD rule and the goal is to have that rule before or very close when the emergency rule expires,” wrote Loomans. “Yes, the longer time people have to agree, according to the change, makes the timeline of the permanent rule more important.”

The state DNR has estimated the total cost of all deer farms currently without double or improved fencing to about 2.1 million dollars. Whitetails of Wisconsin, whose members strongly oppose the claim, have estimated the cost by more than 10 times.

Woods and Meadow Hunting Preserve owner Scott Goetzka of Warrens said that the cost to follow is too much for him and other deer farmers in the state.

“Since I think this is politically driven – no science or veterinary science is run – two years from now, if they do not like it or the CWD continues to spread, they will come up with something else you have to do, said Goetzka. “They promise you basically.”

Although the yards need to install additional fencing, it can not stop spreading, Richards said. He noted that CWD was discovered in Wisconsin inside a double fenced facility.

“So it is quite clear that even a double fence does not constitute a complete obstacle to the contagious agent’s movement with CWD,” said Richards. “If the infectious agent can move from the outside to a captive over two fences, I see no reason to suspect that it can not go in the other direction. “

Counties rise in

As the state debates how to slow down the spread of CWD, some local governments in Wisconsin take action. [19659008] This year, Bayfield and Douglas County passed a moratorium that blocks new prison degeneration operations for a year while local officials are studying the industry and considering new rules.

Al Horvath of Superior, a lifelong hunter and delegate to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, said the moratories were written after a deer in Bayfield County was found to have been subjected to animals from a farm that tested positive for the disease. 19659008] Horvath said it was frustrating to see the lack of cooperation between DNR and DATCP – which shares the regulation of deer plants – in attacking chronic wasteful disease.

“It’s a state issue,” said Horvath. “They are government entities, yet they work independently and act as if they are only responsible for a certain part of it. They are responsible for the citizens of the state for everything. And if they can not get together if they can not work with each other , they will not work efficiently and get things they need. “

Horvath, who considers himself a pro, said he understands that many families have poured all their life savings into the business.

“I think that someone’s winning potential – their individual winning potential – is not enough to endanger a tradition and an entire animal population,” says Horvath. “I just think it’s wrong.”

Hunter Paul Boehnlein in Madison registered two dew for testing for the CWD on November 17, the first day of the gun-deer season, at the self-service station in Fitchburg, Wis. The young doe and buck were taken in Iowa County, which has been marked zero for CWD in the state. He favors double fencing for deer farms and adds: “I do not really understand why people are dear in the first place.”

Deer farmers seek answers

No matter how it came to his hunting ranches – or the state for that matter – Flees said he and other deer farmers in Wisconsin are looking for genetics to fight chronic wasting disease.

During the past year, Flees said he had worked with a researcher to grow deer with genetic markers showing resistance to CWD. Flees hopes in five years, he could have a resistant crew.

“Let us deer farmers do our work, and if we nail this resistance, let’s find out how the state might do the same in its flock.”

Other research suggests that it may be quite long until such answers are available.

“We do not know how CWD prion proteins can change over time to affect both infection and mortality in different genotypes and deer populations,” according to an article written in June by Michael Samuel, an emeritus professor in wildlife ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “There are still many unknowns that make clear predictions about the long-term development of the CWD resistance difficult.”

At the same time, the spread of CWD across Wisconsin continues. On November 15, another deer hunting ranch tested positive for the disease in Portage County, giving the total number of plants that have tested positive since 2002 to 24.

“I think the challenge with CWD is the one found in wild and on farms” , says Konkle, the state veterinarian. “We do not know who came first and now I’m not sure it necessarily means something. It’s a challenge for both our agencies that deal with farmed deer and wild deer to try to deal with.”

Tarts Wiltsie of Tomah, with a buckskott near Bangor.

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