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House Passes Boone and Crockett Club Supported Chronic Wasting Disease Bill

MISSOULA, Mont. – The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation last night that will provide funding for research and management to help fight chronic wasting disease (CWD), an always fatal neurological disease affecting members of the deer family. The CWD Research and Management Act (H.R. 5608) is sponsored by Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and GT Thompson (R-PA) and supported by the Boone and Crockett Club along with a broad spectrum of hunting and agriculture interests; it cleared the House with a vote of 393-33. The legislation authorizes $70 million in total spending ($35 million each to research and management efforts) and requires 75% of the management funding be directed to state and tribal wildlife agencies; it also directs the Secretary of Agriculture to review the Herd Certification Program. 

“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. “This bill will get wildlife managers and researchers the resources they need to continue the fight against CWD. We at the Boone and Crockett Club thank members of the U.S. House of Representatives for taking action to protect our native deer species.”

H.R. 5608 was introduced in October and unanimously passed the House Agriculture Committee shortly after introduction. The bill will authorize funds to states to help manage existing CWD outbreaks and to provide rapid response funding for detections in new populations. In addition, the bill would provide increased funding for research to improve testing and disease containment mechanisms, including the development of live animal or environmental testing and ways to decontaminate infectious prions. Another important provision directs the Secretary of Agriculture to review the Herd Certification Program standards including those that help minimize or eliminate the interaction between wild and captive deer.

“Thanks to Congressmen Kind and Thompson, this bill has cleared an important hurdle by passing the House,” Arnold concluded. “We hope the Senate will act quickly so states can become even more proactive in addressing chronic wasting disease.” 

More About the Boone and Crockett Club

Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Montana. Click here to learn more about the Boone and Crockett Club.