Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson’s (R-PA) Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support. This bill will help combat chronic wasting disease (CWD) by funding research into CWD prevention and supporting state and tribal efforts to develop and implement management strategies for the disease. The bill now awaits further consideration in the Senate.
CWD is a contagious neurological disease affecting cervids – deer, elk, and moose – that is always fatal and there is no known cure. As of August 2021, CWD has been confirmed in 27 states and there are serious concerns that the disease will continue to spread to herds across the country.
“CWD poses a big threat to deer herds here in Wisconsin, and in turn our outdoor economy and traditions,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “Today, Congress took a critical step towards combating this disease and making sure state and tribal efforts to manage its spread are supported. I’m proud to have led this bipartisan push to bring our scientists, local officials, and sportsmen together to address CWD and make sure our deer populations stay healthy for generations to come.”
“The U.S. House of Representatives today recognized just how important it is to better understand the diagnosis, transmission and spread of Chronic Wasting Disease among deer populations, in Pennsylvania and across the country,” Rep. Thompson said. “There is certainly urgent need for research and management efforts, and I thank my colleagues who supported this bill along with the many stakeholders who share the common goal of eradicating this disease.”
This legislation was introduced by Reps. Kind and Thompson on October 19, 2021 and has received a wave of support:
“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) applauds the House for moving quickly to pass the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act – a thoughtful, bipartisan, and meaningful piece of legislation to combat one of the most pressing wildlife conservation challenges, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD),” said CSF President and CEO Jeff Crane. “Thanks to the leadership of Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Members Reps. Kind and Thompson, the House passage of this bill marks the most significant progress a comprehensive piece of legislation to address this issue has made, and we encourage the Senate to quickly follow suit.”
“This swift bipartisan passage of the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act reflects the incredible need for resources to stop the spread of the disease on behalf of our wild deer herds and hunting opportunities,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “This legislation has the federal government stepping up its responsibility for addressing CWD, giving state agency staff more support, focusing the scope of much-needed research, and educating the full spectrum of stakeholders—from hunters to the captive cervid industry—so that we are all accountable for advancing CWD solutions.”
“Chronic wasting disease threatens not only white-tailed deer, elk, mule deer, moose, and caribou, but the ecosystems and outdoor economies that rely upon healthy wildlife populations,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We thank Reps. Kind and Thompson for their steadfast leadership and the House of Representatives for today’s bipartisan vote—and we urge the Senate to take up this bill immediately. Sportsmen and sportswomen, wildlife enthusiasts, and ecosystems are counting on us to understand and mitigate the spread of this deadly disease.”
“Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) applauds Representatives Ron Kind and Glenn Thompson for introducing bipartisan legislation that will fund cooperative management and research of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) between United States Department of Agriculture and state wildlife management agencies and departments of agriculture. CWD represents one of the greatest threats to deer, elk and other wild cervid species in the United States and in turn threatens our hunting traditions. Each year millions of Americans hunt deer and other related big game species and each season more hunters in the field face the threat of CWD and the serious implications it presents for feeding our families and pursuing our outdoor traditions,” said John Gale, Conservation Director – Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.
“Chronic wasting disease threatens our country’s native deer species, as well as the role of deer hunting in our outdoor heritage. We appreciate the ongoing leadership of Reps. Kind and Thompson in addressing this critical need,” said Boone and Crockett Club President James F. Arnold. “Landscapes across the continent, and the hunters who utilize them, depend on healthy herds of deer. This bill will get wildlife managers and researchers the resources that they need to continue this fight. We at the Boone and Crockett Club urge all members of the House of Representatives to take action on this important issue when this bill comes to the floor.”
“As the numbers are rolling in from across the country this winter after another hunting season, it’s clear that CWD cases continue to climb, and it’s popping up in new areas in many states. It’s time to step up and help wildlife managers and researchers deal with this disease to help slow the spread and prevalence of CWD across the country. Time is of the essence,” said Nick Pinizzotto, National Deer Association President and CEO.
“On behalf of deer farmers and their families, I want to thank Representatives Kind and Thompson for getting this legislation passed through the House of Representatives. As an industry, we have been fighting CWD each and every day and advocating for more research funding for years. Working together with our partner organizations we now have legislation to combat this disease. NADeFA applauds our sponsor’s leadership and the House passage of HR 5608, we now look forward to working with the Senate to ensure this bill becomes law. CWD is a constant worry our agricultural sector faces on a daily basis, however, this legislation will help save the family farm and the rural communities who depend upon our industries,” said Shawn Schafer, Executive Director North American Deer Farmers Association.
“The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supports the Bipartisan Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act as an important acceleration in our national fight against this deer and elk disease. Supporting state and tribal efforts to detect and manage the disease locally, as well as develop new practical solutions through targeted research is an important advancement. We want to commend the leadership of Representatives Kind and Thompson and thank our fellow conservation partners for keeping a laser focus on these on-the-ground solutions,” said Blake Henning, Chief Conservation Officer RMEF.
Read the bipartisan bill here.