TWS supports bill to study CWD

By Laura Bies

New legislation would study the pathways for chronic wasting disease. ©N. and M.J. Mishler, USFWS

TWS recently sent a letter to Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Doug Jones, D-Ala., thanking them for addressing the spread of chronic wasting disease. The Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission in Cervidae Study Act (S. 382) requires the National Academy of Sciences to review the pathways and existing standards related to the disease.

The bill calls for the National Academies of Sciences to review current data and best management practices regarding the disease.  The Academy is to use information from the CWD Herd Certification Program,USGS and state agencies regarding pathways and mechanisms for CWD transmission. They are also instructed to look at areas at risk of the disease and geographical patterns of CWD transmission, while highlighting gaps in current scientific knowledge regarding transmission to help prioritize research.

In its support letter, TWS noted that the bill “would provide wildlife professionals with much-needed information on CWD and its spread, enabling them to conduct more targeted research, determine which areas of the country are most at risk, and work with hunters and others to help prevent further spread.”

“Chronic wasting disease is not a new threat, but it is one that has fundamentally changed our efforts to manage and conserve wildlife,” said Senator Barrasso, speaking about the bill on the Senate floor. “Unchecked, this disease could truly be catastrophic for wildlife and for local economies.”

The Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission in Cervidae Study Act was first introduced late in the last Congress but did not advance through committee. It was also reintroduced last week in the House.

Laura BiesLaura Bies is a government relations contractor and freelance writer for The Wildlife Society. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and a law degree from George Washington University. Laura has worked with The Wildlife Society since 2005. Read more of Laura's articles.

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