Hyde-Smith shows support for chronic wasting disease research

In a bipartisan move by the U.S. Senate, the legislation would allow state and tribal governments to address and prevent CWD outbreaks. 

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith has backed a bill that would increase research and management of CWD in the state of Mississippi. This disease has been show to negatively affect recreational hunting, outdoor tourism, local business, farms and ecosystems in the state.

CWD is a neurological disorder, similar to “mad cow disease,” which is contagious within each species and always fatal.  As of 2021, CWD has been discovered among deer, elk, and moose (cervids) in 26 states, including Mississippi.

She joins U.S. Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) in proposing the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act (S.4111).

The bill allows for a five year CWD research program to be conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The work will be carried out with state and tribal agencies as well as the Ag department.

The bill would also allow for those agencies to develop education materials to inform the public on CWD.

“The spread of chronic wasting disease, which has a presence in Mississippi, is a major cause for concern.  We must dedicate more resources to understanding all we can about the cause, spread, management and control of this always-fatal disease,” Hyde-Smith said.  “I am pleased to support Senator Hoeven’s legislation to give the USDA more resources to focus on this problem.”

“CWD is a growing threat to both wildlife and livestock, impacting sportsmen, ranchers and the local ecology of regions across the U.S.,” said Hoeven.  “Our legislation would empower state and tribal governments to better manage and prevent outbreaks of this deadly disease, while also advancing new methods for detecting CWD and limiting its spread.”

There are roughly 1.75 million whitetail deer in Mississippi. Deer hunting encompasses the state’s largest outdoor/hunting industry and helps fund the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

S.4111 would authorize funds for the following priorities:

Research

  • Methods to effectively detect CWD in live cervids and the environment.
  • Testing methods for non-live cervids.
  • Genetic resistance to CWD.
  • Sustainable cervid harvest management practices to reduce CWD occurrence.
  • Factors contributing to local emergence of CWD.

Management

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

In addition to Hyde-Smith, additional original cosponsors include Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

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