The Facts About CWD in Texas

The recent news surrounding one deer in one breeder facility in Texas has prompted a great deal of concern with our industry. As a result of a positive CWD test on a whitetail buck in a Medina County deer breeding facility, Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD) has halted ALL transfers and liberations within the state.

At the current time, the deer ranching industry in Texas has effectively been shut-down by this decision. More than one thousand landowners and their families, all dependent on deer management as a substantial source of income, are left in doubt as to the future of their business this year.

While there is no doubt that the concern of CWD in our state is something to be taken seriously, here are some important facts to remember when considering the CWD situation in Texas:
*CWD is not a public health concern

On the Texas Parks & Wildlife website, a fact sheet on CWD states that:

"Epidemiologists with the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, and along with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, have studied CWD and have found no evidence that CWD poses a serious risk to humans or domestic animals. Years of monitoring in the affected area in Colorado has found no similar disease in people or cattle living there."

Earlier this year, results of a study conducted at UC-Davis provided a great deal of insight into the issue. Scientists involved in the research suspected that the human prion protein structure would block out the infected cervid prions in the testing, "as the sequences did not appear to be compatible," according to Dr. Christina Sigurdson, senior author of the study. Their hypothesis proved to be true, as they found that the mice in the experiment who expressed "the normal human prion sequence resisted infection when exposed to same materials - just as humans seem to, even those who consume venison meat."

*Texas deer ranchers have participated in CWD monitoring programs since 2007

In fact, the ranch from which the positive result occurred was participating in such a program, proving that the monitoring system currently in place is effective.

Hundreds of these monitored herds have absolutely zero traceable connections to the index herd and have invested much effort and financing into building CWD status through the USDA. That these herds were also shut down is an unnecessary restriction of commerce creating financial hardships for Texas citizens.

*Over the last decade more research has been done to develop a live-animal test for CWD

Though this test is not validated by the USDA, Texas has the authority and should take the lead in the utilization of live-animal testing in the management of this CWD scenario.

*Suspending the deer industry negatively impacts not only the entire hunting community, but rural economies and the entire state of Texas

Intensive deer management is vital not only to the health of the whitetail and its habitat, but also the entire Texas economy. As a $700 million industry, deer ranching produces a tremendous economic benefit for rural communities across the state. And the end result of members' efforts is the creation of a host of new opportunities for quality hunts on private land-essential to the continuation of our rich hunting tradition in Texas.

*The Texas Deer Association is closely monitoring this situation and advocating on behalf of its membership

We remain in constant contact with the Texas Animal Health Commission (lead investigators) and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. In addition, TDA has assembled our own Response Team to address the day to day issues of this current situation.

TDA is advocating for the reopening of TWIMS as soon as possible in order to minimize the hardship placed on Texas deer ranching operations. Visit our website to receive the latest updates on the Texas CWD Situation: www.texasdeerassociation.com

SOURCE: Texas Deer Association