Two more CWD-positive captive deer brings the total number of CWD-positive farms in Minnesota to six.
The Department of Natural Resources is battling a CWD outbreak in southern Minnesota and I endorse its response.
Substantial evidence in Minnesota, the United States and Canada, point to captive cervid farms as CWD spreaders. Cervid farms were legalized in Minnesota in the mid-1980s and the Board of Animal Health was given responsibility for regulations.
CWD most likely originated from sheep scrapies in a Colorado research facility in the late 1960s. Intentional and unintentional movement of CWD-infected animals has distributed the disease and it was found in Wisconsin in 2002.
The scientific community has been aware of the dangers to the Minnesota deer herd for nearly two decades, yet the BAH rules have been predictably unable to prevent CWD infections in farmed cervids.
The BAH does not mandate double fencing or fence heights that deer cannot jump over. While cervid farms and the BAH rules put wild deer and our deer-hunting traditions at risk, the farmers that were depopulated due to CWD were paid up to $3,000 per animal.
A few simple rules would lower risk by preventing nose-to-nose contact with wild deer and reducing the chances of escape. I urge you to contact your legislators, and the BAH (assistant director Dr. Paul Anderson, at Paul.L.Anderson@state.mn.us) and demand immediate and substantial corrective actions.