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

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 Proposes to Amend Final Rule on Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Certification Program for Captive Deer, Elk and Moose

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2009–The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing changes to a final rule that establishes a herd certification program to eliminate chronic wasting disease (CWD) from farmed or captive cervids in the United States. In the final rule, participating deer, elk and moose herds would have to follow CWD herd certification program requirements for animal identification, testing, herd management and movement of animals into and from herds. APHIS’ proposed changes involve the recognition of state bans on the entry of farmed or captive cervids for reasons unrelated to CWD, the number of years an animal must be monitored for CWD before it may move interstate, interstate movement of cervids that originated from herds in proximity to a CWD outbreak, herd inventory procedures and several other matters. These actions are intended to help eliminate CWD from the farmed or captive cervid herds in the United States. The proposed rule is in response to petitions and public comments requesting reconsideration of several requirements to the previous final rule. APHIS believes that the comments identified several areas where the CWD final rule could be more effective or less burdensome, and that the CWD final rule could be improved by making several changes to its requirements. CWD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) of cervids (members of Cervidae, the deer family) that, as of October 2008, has been found only in wild and captive animals in North America and in captive animals in the Republic of Korea. First recognized as a clinical “wasting” syndrome in 1967, the disease is typified by chronic weight loss leading to death. There is no known relationship between CWD and any other TSE of animals or people. Species known to be susceptible to CWD via natural routes of transmission include Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer and moose. In the United States, CWD has been confirmed in free-ranging deer and elk in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, and, as of October 2008, in 32 farmed elk herds and 11 farmed or captive white-tailed deer herds in Colorado, Kansas, Michigan Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The disease was first detected in U.S. farmed elk in 1997. It was also diagnosed in a wild moose in Colorado in 2005. This proposed supplemental rule is scheduled to be published for public comment in the Federal Register on March 31.

Consideration will be given to comments received on before June 1. Send two copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. 00-108-7, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. 00-108-7. If you wish to submit a comment using the Internet go to the Federal eRulemaking portal.

Comments are posted on the Regulations.gov Web site and may also be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. 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) 690-2817

The proposed rule may be downloaded from the Federal Register in pdf format.

Please note that the comment period for this proposed rule is open until June 1, 2009.

Common Soil Mineral Degrades the Nearly Indestructible Prion

In the rogues’ gallery of microscopic infectious agents, the prion is the toughest hombre in town.

Warped pathogens that lack both DNA and RNA, prions are believed to cause such fatal brain ailments as chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer and moose, mad cow disease in cattle, scrapie in sheep and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. In addition to being perhaps the weirdest infectious agent know to science, the prion is also the most durable. It resists almost every method of destruction from fire and ionizing radiation to chemical disinfectants and autoclaving, which reduce prion infectivity but fail to completely eliminate it.

Now, however, a team of Wisconsin researchers has found that a common soil mineral, an oxidized from of manganese known as birnessite, can penetrate the prion’s armor and degrade the protein.

The new finding, which was reported earlier this month (Jan. 2) in the Journal of General Virology, is important because it may yield ways to decontaminate soil and other environments where prions reside.

“Prions are resistant to many of the conventional means of inactivating pathogens,” says Joel Pedersen, a UW-Madison environmental chemist and the senior author of the new study. For example, autoclaving, a standard method for sterilization in the laboratory, will reduce the concentration of prions in solution, but fails to eliminate them altogether, as it does for virtually all other types of pathogens.

Because prions infect both wild and domesticated animals, the agent can contaminate barnyards and other areas where infected livestock are kept, as well as persist in natural environments where deer, elk and other animals can become infected by contact with contaminated soil.

Other studies have shown that prions can survive in the soil for at least three years, and that soil is a plausible route of transmission for some animals, Pedersen says. “We know that environmental contamination occurs in deer and sheep at least,” he notes.

Prion reservoirs in the soil, Pedersen explains, are likely critical links in the chain of infection because the agent does not appear to depend on vectors — intermediate organisms like mosquitoes or ticks — to spread from animal to animal.

That the birnessite family of minerals possessed the capacity to degrade prions was a surprise, Pedersen says. Manganese oxides like birnessite are commonly used in such things as batteries and are among the most potent oxidants occurring naturally in soils, capable of chemically transforming a substance by adding oxygen atoms and stripping away electrons. The mineral is most abundant in soils that are seasonally waterlogged or poorly drained.

“A variety of manganese oxide minerals exist and one of the most common is birnessite. They are common in the sense that you find them in many soils, but in low concentrations,” says Pedersen. “They are among the strongest oxidants in soil.”

The new study, which was led by Fabio Russo of the University of Naples and Christopher J. Johnson of UW-Madison, was conducted on prions in solution in the laboratory. The group’s working hypothesis, according to Pedersen, is that the mineral oxidizes the prion, a chemical process that can be seen in things like iron oxidizing to form rust or how cut pears and apples turn brown when exposed to oxygen.

The next step, Pedersen says, is to mix the mineral with contaminated soil to see if it has the same effect. If it does, birnessite may become a useful tool for cleaning up contaminated farmyards and other places where the prion may be concentrated in the soil.

“I expect that its efficacy would be somewhat diminished in soil,” says Pedersen. “It’s something we’ll explore.”

In addition to Pedersen, Russo and Christopher Johnson, co-authors of the new study include Chad J. Johnson of the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, and Judd Aiken and Debbie McKenzie of the University of Alberta. The work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Chronic Wasting Disease Update

Download Update 93.

USDA and Colorado State University Researchers Develop First Live Test for Chronic Wasting Disease in Elk

FORT COLLINS, Colo., –Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Colorado State University (CSU) recently completed their third year of evaluating and validating the first live rectal-tissue biopsy method for detecting chronic wasting disease (CWD) in captive and wild elk. To date, researchers have collected over 1,500 biopsies from captive elk in Colorado and used the technique to find 15 elk that were positive for CWD. As compared to proven post-mortem diagnostic tests, this live test appears to be nearly as accurate. “The key advantage to the rectal biopsy test is that it can be performed on live animals. Until now, there was no practical live test for CWD in elk,” said research wildlife biologist Dr. Kurt VerCauteren with APHIS’ Wildlife Services (WS) National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC). “With this technique we can detect CWD in animals not showing any signs of the disease and, thus, remove them so they are not left to infect other individuals and further contaminate the environment.”

The research is a collaborative effort between APHIS’ WS and Veterinary Services programs, the Agricultural Research Service, and the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory within the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The majority of the research was conducted on the Velvet Ridge Elk Ranch, owned by Dennis and Stephanie White, near Fort Collins, Colo. In 2002, an elk on the ranch was confirmed to have CWD and since that time the Whites have worked closely with NWRC and other collaborators to learn more about CWD and to develop methods to manage it in captive and wild settings. “The use of this new live test in the initial screening, surveillance and monitoring of CWD will greatly aid in the management and control of the disease in the wild, as well as in captive settings,” said VerCauteren. CWD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy whereby abnormal proteins accumulate in the central nervous and lymphatic systems of infected animals causing a degenerative lack of control and a “wasting-away” death. Currently, there is no cure for CWD.

CWD has been reported in captive and free-ranging mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. CWD has been a devastating disease to the captive elk industry. An estimated 12,000-14,000 captive elk have been killed in the western United States and Canada in the past 7-8 years to control CWD. Several thousand free-ranging mule deer, white-tailed deer and elk also have been killed in attempts to reduce the disease in the wild.

The NWRC is the research arm of USDA’s WS program. It is the federal institution devoted to resolving problems caused by the interaction of wild animals and society. The center applies scientific expertise to the development of practical methods to resolve these problems and to maintain the quality of the environments shared with wildlife. To learn more about NWRC, visit its Web site.

Chronic Wasting Disease Update

Download update 90 (PDF)