The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) issued an "emergency order" to impose additional movement and testing restrictions on deer breeding facilities that are affiliated with six deer breeding facilities where Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected.
Some rules are already in place to restrict the movement of deer from 264 sites in 95 counties that are linked to these CWD positive facilities and further measures are necessary.
TPWD and Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) are addressing the risks and are improving management strategies to protect big game resources.
“This is a terribly unfortunate development that we are committed to addressing as proactively, comprehensively, and expeditiously as possible,” said Carter Smith, TPWD Executive Director. “The health of our state’s free-ranging and captive deer herds, as well as affiliated hunting, wildlife, and rural based economies, are vitally important to Texas hunters, communities, and landowners. As such, our primary objectives are to enhance testing at sites that received deer from affected facilities and avoid the unintentional release of CWD-positive deer. Along with our partners at TAHC, we will continue to exercise great diligence and urgency with this ongoing investigation.”
Officials have taken action to secure all deer at the CWD facilities and plan to conduct additional investigations for CWD.
Additionally, breeding facilities that received or shipped deer to those facilities in the last five years are under movement restrictions and can't move or release them until cleared by a herd plan.
Additional measures included in this emergency order include enhanced testing requirements for facilities with close epidemiological ties to the CWD-positive facilities.
Antemortem testing is an additional measure of deer from all movement qualified deer facilities prior to transfer to a release date.
These requirements are meant to minimize the risk of spreading CWD spreading into Texas' free-ranging white-tailed deer and to protect the captive deer breeding industry.
“I am proud of the partnership between TAHC and TPWD and the dedication of the two agencies to address Chronic Wasting Disease in this state,” said Coleman Locke, TAHC Chairman. “Because of this collaboration, Texas has led the nation in CWD management techniques and will continue to improve the overall understanding of the disease.”
CWD was first discovered in Texas in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer near the Hueco Mountains and has since been detected in 228 deer in 13 counties.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease found in deer, elk, moose and other members of the deer family. It's a slow and progressive disease that may not show visible signs of infection until years after becoming infected.
As the disease progresses, animals infected with CWD will show changes in behavior and appearance including weight loss, stumbling or tremors with lack of coordination, excessive thirst, loss of appetite, teeth grinding, abnormal head posture and drooping ears.
There is no evidence that CWD poses a risk to humans and non-cervids but as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization doesn't recommend consuming meat from infected animals.
A full list of TVMDL’s test offering are available on the TVMDL website and laboratory experts are available to answer any questions by calling 979-845-3414.
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