NDA Welcomes Introduction of Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act

The National Deer Association (NDA) welcomes the recent introduction of the bipartisan Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act by Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA). The NDA is proud to endorse the legislation, joining a strong group of conservation and industry organizations. The Act will support management efforts and research to combat chronic wasting disease (CWD), which is a contagious, neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose that is always fatal.

The bill authorizes $70 million annually from Fiscal Year 2022 through Fiscal Year 2028 for research and management of CWD, with the money to be split evenly between research and management. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will administer the funds through cooperative agreements.

The research section authorizes funds to be spent on:

  1. Methods to effectively detect CWD in live cervids and the environment
  2. Testing methods on non-live cervids
  3. Genetic resistance to CWD
  4. Sustainable cervid harvest management practices to reduce CWD occurrence
  5. Factors contributing to local emergence of CWD

The management section authorizes funding for State or Tribal wildlife agencies and departments of agriculture, with the following funding priorities:

  1. Areas with the highest incidence of CWD
  2. Jurisdictions demonstrating the greatest financial commitment to managing, monitoring, surveying, and researching chronic CWD
  3. Efforts to develop comprehensive policies and programs focused on CWD management
  4. Areas showing the greatest risk of an initial occurrence of CWD
  5. Areas responding to new outbreaks of CWD

The bill also includes authorization for USDA and state and tribal agencies to develop educational materials to inform the public on CWD and directs USDA to review its herd certification program (HCP) within 18 months of passage.

The NDA is dedicated to ensuring the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat and hunting. The NDA outlines deer diseases as a critical focus area and slowing the spread of CWD is of primary concern. CWD is one of the largest threats to wildlife conservation that we have encountered over the last century. As many state, Tribal and federal agencies have learned, preventing the spread of this always-fatal disease is a daunting task and early detection and rapid response once the disease is found is critical for long-term management. Through our extensive work on this issue across North America, we know that proactive research and testing – especially in known or at-risk CWD areas – is critically important to the management of the disease and wild deer herds. Undoubtedly, federal leadership and coordination in research and testing efforts is necessary.

The NDA is joined in endorsing the bill by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Boone & Crockett Club, North American Deer Farmers Association (NADeFA) and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF).

About Torin Miller

Torin Miller is a licensed attorney and NDA’s Director of Policy. He works at the intersection of conservation and natural resources law, policy, advocacy and education. He has a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University, a J.D. from Penn State Law and is finishing a master's degree in wildlife and fisheries science at Penn State. Torin came to NDA via the National Deer Alliance, where he served as the Policy and Outreach Coordinator.