Carcass Transportation Regulations in the United States and Canada

cwd_mapDownload the full Chronic Wasting Disease and Cervidae Regulations in North America. [PDF]

The number one objective in the management of CWD is to prevent its spread into new areas. One theoretical mode of disease transmission is via infected carcasses. Therefore, in an effort to minimize the risk of disease spread, a number of states have adopted regulations affecting the transportation of hunter-harvested deer and elk.

Since the suspected infective agent (prion) is concentrated in the brain, spinal cord and lymph glands, the most common regulation is the prohibition of the importation of whole carcasses harvested from CWD areas. Some states, like Colorado, also have established regulations addressing the transport of deer and elk out of CWD areas. Generally, states that have adopted carcass transportation regulations do not allow the importation of any brain or spinal column tissue and allow transport of only the following:

  • Meat that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately).
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Meat that has been boned out.
  • Hides with no heads attached.
  • Clean (no meat or tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached.
  • Antlers with no meat or tissue attached.
  • Upper canine teeth, also known as "buglers," "whistlers," or "ivories."
  • Finished taxidermy.

A summary of state-by-state carcass transportation regulations is provided in Column J of the regulations on each state page (accessible from the home page) or on the map. Since these regulations are continually evolving, it is recommended that before hunting you check the CWD regulations in your home state, the state in which you will be hunting and states in which you will travel through en route home from your hunting area. Most state wildlife agencies provide regulations information on their websites, and may be accessed via the clickable map on the home page.

The Carcass Transport and Disposal Working Group of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) Fish and Wildlife Health Committee developed the following guidelines for regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to carcass transport and disposal. The intent of the working group is to encourage states to adopt policies that minimize risk; do not hinder hunting, wild cervid population management, or disease control; are easily understood; and promote compliance because they are consistent and well-justified. The recommendations are based on current knowledge of CWD and may be updated when new information becomes available. The Working Group recognizes state wildlife management agencies will tailor their approach to fit individual concerns and situations, and asks that agency directors, through AFWA, give serious and urgent consideration to this matter so that this potential risk of CWD spread can be minimized.

Transport and Disposal of Hunter-killed Cervid Carcasses: Recommendations to Wildlife Agencies to Reduce Chronic Wasting Disease Risks [PDF]

US Legislation

---April 6, 2004---
Senate Hearing on S1366 - Chronic Wasting Disease Financial Assistance Act of 2003

Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water
April 6, 2004

CWD Alliances’ Testimony PDF document
Other Testimony

---January 9, 2004---
S 2007 - BSE and Other Prion Disease Prevention and Public Health Protection Act

To provide better protection against bovine spongiform encephalopathy and other prion diseases.
S 2007 PDF document
S 2007 Word document

---June 19, 2003---
Congressional Hearing on HR 2057

U.S. House of Representatives
House Resources Committee
Subcommittees on Forests and Forest Health, and
Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans
Thursday, June 19, 2003

Testimony

---June 9, 2003---
HR 2431 - Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force Establishment Act of 2003 (Introduced in House)

To establish a National Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force, and for other purposes.
HR2431 Word document

---June 9, 2003---
HR 2430 - Chronic Wasting Disease Research, Monitoring, and Education Enhancement Act of 2003 (Introduced in House)

To amend the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act to coordinate and strengthen scientific research and monitoring, and to promote public outreach, education, and awareness, of Chronic Wasting Disease affecting free-ranging populations of deer and elk, and for other purposes.
HR2430 Word document

---June 9, 2003---
S 1366 - Chronic Wasting Disease Financial Assistance Act of 2003 (Introduced in Senate)

To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to make grants to State and tribal governments to assist State and tribal efforts to manage and control the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer and elk herds, and for other purposes.
S1366 PDF document | Word document

---June 9, 2003---
HR 2636 - Chronic Wasting Disease Financial Assistance Act of 2003 (Introduced in House)

To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to make grants to State and tribal governments to assist State and tribal efforts to manage and control the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer and elk herds, and for other purposes.
HR2636 PDF document | Word document

---May 9, 2003---
S 1036 - Chronic Wasting Disease Support Act of 2003

Introduce in the Senate May 9, 2003 by Senator Allard (CO)
S1036 Word document
S1036 PDF document

---May 9, 2003---
HR 2057 - Chronic Wasting Disease Support for States Act of 2003

Introduced in the House of Representatives May 9, 2003 by Rep. McInnis (CO)
HR2057 Word document
HR2057 PDF document

---April 18, 2003---
FY 2004 Budget - Conservation Organizations Request Congressional Support for CWD

24 organizations sign letter requesting funding for National CWD Plan- April 18, 2003
Letter Word document

---May 16, 2002---
Congressional Hearing on Chronic Wasting Disease

U.S. House of Representatives
House Resources Committee
Subcommittees on Forests and Forest Health, and
Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans
May 16, 2002
CWD Alliances’ Testimony PDF document | Word document

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Category Archives: National News

USDA publishes Chronic Wasting Disease Program standards for farmed cervids

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USDA Establishes a Herd Certification Program for Chronic Wasting Disease in the United States

Rule Seeks to Support U.S. Farmed Cervid Industry, Respond to Concerns Raised by State Animal Health and Wildlife Agencies

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced an interim final rule to establish a national chronic wasting disease (CWD) herd certification program (HCP) and minimum requirements for interstate movement of deer, elk and moose, or cervids, in the United States. Participation in the program will be voluntary. The interim final rule amends the Agency’s 2006 final rule which was never put into effect. CWD is a fatal neurological disease of deer, elk and moose and is in the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. There is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans.

“It is important that we have a nationwide CWD herd certification program for farmed or captive cervids,” said USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford. “The amendments we are making to our CWD rule will help to control the spread of this disease, support the growing U.S. cervid industry, and complement existing state CWD programs.”

Since 1997, CWD has been reported in farmed or captive cervids in 11 states. With the interim final rule, APHIS is addressing the needs of the farmed cervid industry, while responding to concerns raised by State animal health and wildlife partners after APHIS published its final CWD rule in 2006. The rule establishes a national program that provides uniform herd certification standards and will support the domestic and international marketability of U.S. cervid herds. The changes made to the CWD rule also will not preempt state or local laws and regulations that are more restrictive than APHIS’ regulations, with the exception that cervids that are eligible to move interstate may transit a state that bans or restricts the entry of such animals en route to another state.

The CWD HCP is a cooperative effort between APHIS, State animal health and wildlife agencies, and the cervid industry. The program will provide consistent national minimum standards to certify cervid herds to be low risk for CWD and to establish minimum standards for the interstate movement of cervids.

APHIS will approve State programs that, among other requirements, establish movement restrictions on CWD-positive, CWD-suspect, and CWD-exposed animals; conduct tracebacks on such animals to determine what other animals may be affected by the disease; require the testing of all farmed cervids that die or are euthanized; and maintain premises and animal identification for all herds participating in approved State programs.

APHIS is issuing the interim final rule and requesting public comment for 30 days specifically on the issue of preemption and the protection of state and local authorities. The interim final rule will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. After reviewing the public comments, the Agency will issue a final rule and, should there be a need, incorporate any changes made in response to comments received by the Agency.

Participating States will have 180 days from the time the rule is published before APHIS begins enforcing the interstate movement provisions in the regulation. This will give states time to develop HCPs and have them approved by APHIS.

This interim final rule is available online. Consideration will be given to comments received on or before July 13. Interested parties may submit comments by either of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal
  • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: please send your comment to Docket No. 00-108-8, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Comments are posted on the Reglations.gov website and may also be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th Street and Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 799-7039.

Currently, U.S. agriculture is experiencing one of its best periods in history thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of our farmers and ranchers. The work of APHIS helps safeguard our nation’s agriculture, fishing and forestry industries from unwanted pests, disease and unjustified trade restrictions. For example, to promote the health of U.S. agricultural exports, APHIS develops and advances science-based standards with trading partners to ensure our farm exports, valued at more than $137 billion annually, are protected from unjustified barriers. Strong agricultural exports are a positive contribution to the U.S. trade balance, support more than 1 million American jobs and boost economic growth.

Chronic Wasting Disease Update

Download update 102 (PDF)

Colorado State University Study Looks at Test to Identify Chronic Wasting Disease in Wildlife

FORT COLLINS – A Colorado State University study is developing and evaluating a more sensitive test for chronic wasting disease – including the potential to test for infection in live animals, animal products and the environment – through a project funded by Denver-based Morris Animal Foundation.

The disease, which affects deer, moose and elk and is related to similar diseases in cattle and sheep, is a primary concern for hunters and wildlife ranchers and now affects wildlife in 19 states, 2 Canadian provinces and one Asian country.

Prions are rogue proteins that cause the family of diseases that include CWD. The diseases are known as spongiform encephalopathies. While this Morris Animal Foundation-funded study would be the first in several steps to develop and evaluate a potential new test, it will look at a method that shows promise in detecting a wider array of prions at lower levels than are currently detected.

The research into the potential test may allow detection of CWD prions in live animals, animal products and the environment.

“Developing this test may eventually lead to a more rapid and sensitive to test for CWD,” said Dr. Ed Hoover, a Colorado State University veterinarian and researcher with 30 years of experience in researching infectious diseases of animals. “But, just as significantly, it may lead to a substantial gain in our understanding of how prions spread, survive in natural habitats, and impact animal and public health.”

Currently, CWD can only be identified either by testing brain after an animal is deceased or by surgical sampling and testing lymphatic tissues. While researchers don’t know exactly how CWD is passed from animal to animal, CSU scientists discovered that body fluids such as saliva, blood, urine and feces harbor infectious prions. Animals can then be exposed by direct contact with an infected animal or by contact with a contaminated environment.

Current tests also don’t detect all levels of or kinds of infectious prions or prions in the environment, and the test being evaluated in this study has the potential to be developed into a process that would detect those prions.

The test is being researched in collaboration with Dr. Byron Caughey at the National Institutes of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Hamilton, Mont. Caughey’s laboratory developed the strategy for the study. Hoover, Caughey and colleagues will focus first on determining if their proposed test detects prions in body fluids with greater sensitivity, accuracy and faster output than is currently possible.

It is unknown why an infectious prion from one species, such as deer or elk, can “jump” to infect another species, and the potential risk to other species such as cattle, or even humans, remains uncertain.

Lichens May Aid in Combating Deadly Chronic Wasting Disease in Wildlife

MADISON, Wis. – Certain lichens can break down the infectious proteins responsible for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a troubling neurological disease fatal to wild deer and elk and spreading throughout the United States and Canada, according to U.S. Geological Survey research published today in the journal PLoS ONE.

Like other “prion” diseases, CWD is caused by unusual, infectious proteins called prions. One of the best-known of these diseases is “mad cow” disease, a cattle disease that has infected humans. However, there is no evidence that CWD has infected humans. Disease-causing prions, responsible for some incurable neurological diseases of people and other diseases in animals, are notoriously difficult to decontaminate or kill. Prions are not killed by most detergents, cooking, freezing or by autoclaving, a method used to sterilize medical instruments.

“When prions are released into the environment by infected sheep or deer, they can stay infectious for many years, even decades,” said Christopher Johnson, Ph.D., a scientist at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and the lead author of the study. “To help limit the spread of these diseases in animals, we need to be able to remove prions from the environment.”

The researchers found that lichens have great potential for safely reducing the number of prions because some lichen species contain a protease enzyme (a naturally produced chemical) capable of significantly breaking down prions in the lab.

“This work is exciting because there are so few agents that degrade prions and even fewer that could be used in the environment without causing harm,” said Jim Bennett, Ph.D., a USGS lichenologist and a co-author of the study.

CWD and scrapie in sheep are different than other prion diseases because they can easily spread in sheep or deer by direct animal-to-animal contact or through contact with contaminated inanimate objects like soil. Chronic wasting disease was first diagnosed in the 1960s and has since been detected in 19 states and two Canadian provinces. CWD has been detected in wild elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer and moose in North America.

Lichens, said Johnson, produce unique and unusual organic compounds that aid their survival and can have antibiotic, antiviral and other chemotherapeutic activities. In fact, pharmaceutical companies have been examining the medicinal properties of lichens more closely in recent years.

Lichens – which are often mistaken for moss – are unusual plant-like organisms that are actually a symbioses of fungi, algae and bacteria living together. They usually live on soil, bark, leaves and wood and can live in barren and unwelcoming environments, including the Arctic and in deserts.

Future work will examine the effect of lichens on prions in the environment and determine if lichen consumption can protect animals from acquiring prion diseases.

The study, “Degradation of the disease-associated prion protein by a serine protease from lichens,” was published in PLoS ONE and is freely accessible to the public. The study was authored by USGS scientists Christopher Johnson, James Bennett and Tonie Rocke, as well as authors from Montana State University and the University of Wisconsin.