Carcass Transportation Regulations in the United States and Canada

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

Download a quick reference map of Rules Governing Interstate Transport of High-risk White-tailed Deer Carcass Parts [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


---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

New CWD Program Manager for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Dr. Patty Klein has been selected to replace Dr. Dean Goeldner as the new CWD program manager for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service effective June 21, 2010.

Dr. Klein has served as a Senior Staff Veterinarian and Avian Disease Specialist at the USDA/APHIS/Veterinary Services- National Center for Animal Health Programs, Riverdale, MD working as a National Program Coordinator for Notifiable Avian Influenza (H5/H7 LPAI and HPAI) disease control and prevention in commercial poultry and live bird marketing systems.

From 2002-2005 she served as a Commander in the USPHS Commissioned Corps working as a Senior Staff Regulatory Veterinarian at the FDA/Center for Food Safety and Nutrition, College Park, MD addressing FDA regulatory and policy issues on food safety pertaining to MAP (Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis), Chronic Wasting Disease, Salmonella, and Avian Influenza.

From 1995-2001, Dr. Klein worked as a veterinary pathologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in wildlife disease and toxicology, and in clinical care of endangered avian species.

Dr. Klein has been the Veterinary Consultant for Second Chance Wildlife Center in Maryland since 2001 providing veterinary care to over 4000 wildlife rehabilitation animals per year including songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, reptiles, and small mammals.

Dr. Klein is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine (1988). She earned her Master’s Degree in Toxicology at St. John’s University, New York and completed a post-doctorate fellowship in comparative Pathology at The John’s Hopkins University School of Medicine following her Residency in Avian Medicine and Pathology at U.C. Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Klein is Board Certified in American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (ACVPM 2002) and in the American College of Poultry Veterinarians (ACPV 1992).

Declaration of Prion as a Pest under FIFRA

This document notifies the public that the Administrator of EPA has forwarded to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services a draft proposed rule under sections 21 and 25(a) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The draft rule proposes to declare a prion (i.e., proteinaceous infectious particle) a “pest” under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), so a product intended to reduce the infectivity of any prion on inanimate surfaces (i.e., a “prion product”) is considered to be a pesticide and regulated as such. Any company seeking to distribute or sell a pesticide product regulated under FIFRA must obtain EPA approval before it can be distributed or sold in the United States. This draft proposed rule would codify the Agency’s current interpretation of FIFRA, and provides interested parties the opportunity to comment about how it is adding prion to the list of pests in EPA’s regulations. This amendment, together with the formal declaration that a prion is a pest, will eliminate any confusion about the status of prion products under FIFRA. Regulating prion products under FIFRA is appropriate for protecting human health and the environment against unreasonable adverse effects and ensuring that such products are effective.


Colorado State Awarded $2.5 Million NSF Grant to Study Prevalence and Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease

FORT COLLINS – A Colorado State University research team has been awarded a $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant to study transmission of chronic wasting disease.

Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, affects members of the deer family and is similar to diseases like scrapie in sheep and mad cow disease – or bovine spongiform encephalopathy – in cattle. CWD is caused by misfolded proteins that resist breakdown by enzymes within cells. These proteins cause fatal, neurological damage.

The disease was first discovered in deer in northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming by Colorado State scientists in the 1960s.

Understanding and managing CWD depends on developing predictive models that track how the disease spreads. CWD remains an important challenge for managing wildlife resources in Colorado.

“An important goal for disease ecologists is to predict how diseases change in populations. This study will enhance our ability to predict the dynamics of CWD but also will improve models of all types of diseases,” said Tom Hobbs, CSU professor and project leader. “Predicting the spread of disease is similar to forecasting the weather. It is crucial to understand all of the sources of uncertainty in model predictions. If you don’t do that, you will probably make forecasts that are falsely optimistic. Our contribution will be to increase the reliability of disease models using sophisticated methods for bring together mathematics, statistics and data.”

In this NSF-funded project, CSU scientists will model the impact of CWD on deer populations in an effort to better understand dynamics of transmission.

Investigators will conduct field studies on wild mule deer populations in northern Colorado and will focus on studying the mechanism of transmission. Additionally, they will take a look at how many susceptible individuals are infected by a single infected deer. Lastly, research will study how an individual’s genetic make-up makes it more or less susceptible to being infected with CWD.

The research team will investigate free-ranging populations where CWD is prevalent. The study will not cause any animal to become infected and will not change their risk of infection. Instead, the project scientists will learn about the disease by observing ongoing processes of disease transmission.

“We will be taking a close look at why some deer get sick with CWD and why some don’t. Is their susceptibility to the disease controlled by the environment where they live? By their genetics? By the other deer they contact? We want to understand the things that determine individual variation in disease transmission,” Hobbs said.

Beyond the primary field research aims of this project, some broad impacts include innovative training of graduate students; curriculum development and research experience for local K-12 teachers; outreach to Rocky Mountain National Park visitors; collaboration on disease management with wildlife agencies in western North America; and training for researchers in the modeling methods used in this project.

The interdisciplinary CSU team of researchers awarded the grant will be led by Hobbs and Mike Miller from the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Team members include, Randy Boone, research scientist from the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory; Mike Antolin, biology professor; Jennifer Hoeting, associate professor of statistics ; and Simon Tavener, professor of math.

Prions Found in Feces of Deer Asymptomatic for Chronic Wasting Disease

Scientists have discovered that deer asymptomatic for a fatal brain condition known as chronic wasting disease excrete the infectious prions that cause the disease in their feces. The finding, they say, suggests a plausible explanation for transmission of the disease among deer and, possibly, elk and moose in the environment.

The study is reported as an advance online paper on September 9, 2009 in the journal “Nature.”

While the study reveals that prions are shed in feces of symptomatic deer as well, the discovery that the infected deer shed prions (PREE-ons) in their feces many months before they show clinical symptoms has particularly provocative implications, according to the research team, at University of California, San Francisco and the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Wildlife Research Center.

Deer, elk and moose inadvertently consume feces and soil in the course of their daily grazing. Given this, the team set out to determine whether the animals could develop chronic wasting disease through long-term consumption of contaminated feces. They did so by measuring the amount of prions contained in the feces of orally infected deer up until the time they became symptomatic and then calculated whether prolonged exposure to the concentrations of prions in these feces would be enough to cause the disease.

“Prion levels in feces samples of asymptomatic deer were very low compared to those in the brains of the same deer at the time of death,” says the lead author of the study, Erdem Tamguney, PhD, an assistant professor at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, based at UCSF. “However, the total number of prions excreted over time was sufficiently high enough to cause disease in other deer.”

The susceptibility of animals to infection, he says, might be increased by the simultaneous ingestion of clay soil, which is thought to enhance the infectivity of prions, possibly by slowing their clearance from the gastrointestinal tract.

“Our findings suggest that prolonged fecal prion excretion by infected deer provides a plausible explanation for the high level of transmission of chronic wasting disease within deer herds, as well as prion transmission among deer and other cervid species. Our work may also explain transmission of scrapie prions among sheep and goats,” says senior author and Nobel laureate Stanley B. Prusiner, MD, UCSF professor of neurology and director of the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases.

The study did not examine whether chronic wasting disease could be transmitted to humans via exposure to deer feces. To date, transgenic mouse studies have indicated that chronic wasting disease does not transmit to humans, but scientists remain open to the possibility that it could.

“We can only say that prions of chronic wasting disease have not transmitted to mice genetically engineered to carry the normal, healthy form of human prion protein in earlier studies,” says Prusiner. “That said, we do not know for sure that deer or elk prions cannot be transmitted to humans.”

The prion is an infectious form of the normal prion protein, which has been found in all mammals examined, including humans. The lethal, infectious form induces the normal protein to twist into a malconformation, initiating a disease process that ravages the brain. Prion diseases, seen in cervids, sheep, cows and humans, are also referred to as spongiform encephalopathies. Prusiner won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1997 for the discovery of prions as a new biological principle of infection.

The new study sheds light on a question that has puzzled scientists for a number of years: how chronic wasting disease spreads so widely through herds and species in contrast to bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle, in which horizontal transmission between animals is rare.

First detected in a research facility in Colorado in 1967, chronic wasting disease has since been detected in fourteen states in the U.S. and in two Canadian provinces, predominantly in the West, both in the wild and on commercial farms. In wild herds, it can sometimes be found in up to 30 percent of animals; in captivity nearly entire herds can be affected.

Studies have shown that the disease can be transmitted orally – deer experimentally fed infected brain tissue become sick – but the animals are not carnivores, nor cannibalistic. And while prions have been reported in the saliva, blood, muscle, urine and antler velvet of symptomatic animals with late-stage disease, there is little evidence that these sources are responsible for high incidence of the disease within herds.

Epidemiological findings argue that chronic wasting disease spreads efficiently across populations. When healthy deer grazed on pastureland previously used by deer with chronic wasting disease, the healthy deer eventually develop the disease. But there has been no clear mechanism of transmission of prions in this way.

The UCSF scientists teamed up with co-investigators led by Michael Miller, DVM, PhD, of the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Wildlife Research Center, to investigate the issue. Five deer were orally infected with one gram of brain tissue from a deer that had died of chronic wasting disease. Then fecal samples from the animals were collected at five time points – once before they were infected (as a control group), and then post infection at 3-4 months, 9-10 months, 13-14 months and 16-20 months (when animals show symptoms of the disease). Symptoms include inability to hold the head erect, excessive salivation, unsteady gait and poor grooming skills.

The UCSF scientists irradiated the deer feces to kill all bacteria and viruses, and inoculated the fecal material into the brains of mice genetically engineered to over-express the normal, healthy version of the elk prion protein.

An analysis showed that feces collected before infection and at 3-4 months post infection did not transmit the disease to the mice. At all subsequent time points, however, many fecal samples did transmit the disease. Prion infectivity was found in 14 of the 15 samples collected from the five deer as early as 7-11 months before neurological symptoms developed.

To measure the prions in feces, the team conducted a separate experiment in which they correlated the time required for mice to become ill from various prion concentrations in infected elk brain tissue (brain samples were diluted with varying amounts of water). Then they compared this data to the incubation times of the mice inoculated with contaminated feces, determining the amount of infectivity of the samples at different time points. While the number of prions in individual samples was low, the amount that accumulated over a 10-month period was similar to that in brain at the end-stage of the disease.

The findings offer strong evidence, says Prusiner, that prion contamination of forest, shrub-steppe and grassland habitats may be largely responsible for the high incidence of the disease both within and between cervid species and account for geographic spread as deer move between seasonal ranges.

Other co-authors of the study are Lisa L. Wolfe, MS, DVM, and Tracey M. Sirochman, BA, of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Wildlife Research Center; David V. Glidden, PhD, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, Christina Palmer, MS, Azucena Lemus, BS, of pathology, and Stephen J. DeArmond, MD, PhD, professor of pathology, all of UCSF.

The study was funded by the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, grants from the U.S. Department of Defense National Prion Research Program and the National Institutes of Health.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

Species Barrier May Protect Macaques from Chronic Wasting Disease

Data from an ongoing multi-year study suggest that people who consume deer and elk with chronic wasting disease (CWD) may be protected from infection by an inability of the CWD infectious agent to spread to people. The results to date show that 14 cynomolgus macaques exposed orally or intracerebrally to CWD remain healthy and symptom free after more than six years of observation, though the direct relevance to people is not definitive and remains under study. Cynomolgus macaques often are used as research models of human disease because they are very close genetically to humans and are susceptible to several forms of human brain-damaging disease. Thus, it was decided to see whether exposure to CWD could induce disease in the macaques. The study appears online in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

CWD is a type of brain-damaging disease known as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) or prion disease. CWD primarily affects deer, elk, and moose. Other TSE diseases include mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, scrapie in sheep, and sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans. Humans are not susceptible to sheep scrapie, but BSE appears to have infected about 200 people, primarily in Europe in the 1990s. Those findings provided the rationale for the present CWD-macaque study, which began in 2003.

“We plan to continue this study for at least several more years because, although the risk to macaques so far appears to be low, we know that these diseases can take more than 10 years to develop,” says Bruce Chesebro, M.D., chief of the Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases at Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Mont. RML is part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The RML group is leading the study with collaborators from the Colorado Division of Wildlife; State University of New York Downstate Medical Center; New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities; American Red Cross; and the University of Wyoming.

The findings by the RML group support published field studies done by others in regions of Colorado and Wyoming where CWD is endemic. Between 1979 and 2001, there were no significant increases in human TSE diseases despite the likelihood that hunters in those areas were exposed to CWD through contact with infected animal tissue and contaminated hunting tools such as knives and saws. Extensive laboratory data also supports a human species barrier against CWD.

Notably, the RML study also included identical testing in squirrel monkeys, which are genetically less similar to humans than macaques. Of 15 squirrel monkeys exposed orally to CWD, two displayed disease symptoms 69 months after infection. Of 13 squirrel monkeys exposed intracerebrally to CWD, 11 displayed symptoms between 33 and 53 months after infection. In symptomatic animals, the presence of the CWD agent was confirmed in brain, spleen and lymph nodes.

The results in squirrel monkeys were not surprising because a study elsewhere in two squirrel monkeys yielded similar results. The study by the RML group was different, however, in that it tested oral exposure to CWD and also studied eight CWD samples from different areas of the country. The results in squirrel monkeys confirmed that disease progression in that species appears consistent with disease progression in deer and elk, where severe weight loss is nearly always present.

“The fact that the squirrel monkeys, like the deer and elk, suffered severe weight loss suggests that chronic wasting disease might affect a common region of the brain in different species,” notes Dr. Chesebro.

NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation’s Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit the NIH website.