The government is us; we are the government, you and I. -Theodore Roosevelt

Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act Enacted by Congress


Congressional action prior to the holidays enacted the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act as part of the final omnibus spending bill for 2023. The legislation formalizes a 3-year-old program that supports states and tribes in their efforts to control chronic wasting disease (CWD), an always fatal neurological disease affecting cervids like deer, elk, and moose. 

The sportsmen’s community worked with captive deer and elk businesses to find a legislative solution to fight this disease. The CWD Research and Management Act that was authorized in the omnibus appropriations bill creates a federal program to help defray the cost states and tribes face for CWD research and management. The new law also directs the Department of Agriculture to improve its certification program for captive deer and elk, which is intended to control the spread of the disease from these facilities where transmission is most likely.

“The Boone and Crockett Club joins its many partners in securing this agreement by thanking the lead House sponsor Rep. Ron Kind (WI-D-3) and Rep. G. T. Thompson (PA-R-15) the leading cosponsor,” commented James Cummins, president of the Boone and Crockett Club. “Mr. Kind, who recently retired from Congress, has led this effort for many years and Mr. Thompson’s leadership was indispensable to its enactment this year.”

The Club is grateful also to Senators John Hoeven (ND-R) and Martin Heinrich (NM-D) who led the Senate companion bill, which gathered 22 additional bipartisan cosponsors, giving the proposal the strength to secure approval in both chambers of Congress.

Sportsmen conservationists including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, National Deer Alliance, Mule Deer Foundation, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and the National Wildlife Federation worked closely together as a coalition and through existing partnerships including the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance. Their coordinated efforts to work with the congressional champions helped to make sure the bill was included in final negotiations for the federal spending bill that was approved in late December.

The CWD Research and Management program is administered by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at USDA. In the past 3 years, APHIS has consulted closely with states, tribes, researchers, and other experts in distributing funds to research and management projects most likely to advance effective testing, surveillance, control, and response.

The 2023 Federal budget approved more than $12 million for distribution to states, tribes, and for removing sick deer and elk to prevent transmission. Another $5 million funds Federal actions in research and management.

Efforts to improve the CWD program through its new authorization are already underway among the many partners that secured its establishment.

“The formal establishment of this Federal program mobilizes a complete nationwide effort. Our work may now proceed with greater certainty of funding and less strain on hunting license revenue,” Cummins concluded. “Additional policy will be necessary from state to state as we learn to better identify and stop CWD infections. We are grateful to have consensus among all concerned that basic research and management benefits everyone in this challenge.”



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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt