MADISON — A Walworth County herd of farm-raised deer and elk was destroyed Wednesday, Nov. 3, because it was infected with chronic wasting disease.
The herd of 12 white-tailed deer and 9 elk owned by Wayne Kuhnke, Delavan, was killed by gunshot by wildlife specialists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services. They worked under contract with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, which regulates farm-raised deer in Wisconsin.
The Kuhnke herd had been under quarantine since September 2002 because Wisconsin animal health officials linked it to animals in two CWD-infected herds. Recently two animals from the Kuhnke herd also tested positive for CWD.
Brain stem samples were removed from each animal and shipped to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for testing. Test results are expected within three weeks. Carcasses were sent to the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for chemical digestion.
Kuhnke will be required to burn or bury all feed, bedding, manure and wooden feed troughs used by the deer. He also must clean all organic material from metal, concrete or plastic items that came in contact with the animals. DATCP staff will then disinfect those articles with a strong chlorine bleach solution. In areas of heavy animal traffic, the owner will need to scrape off and bury 2 inches of topsoil and replace it.
Kuhnke may not re-introduce farm-raised deer or elk to the property for five years. He may use the property for other species.
Kuhnke will receive federal and state indemnity payments for the animals. The indemnity amounts have not been determined yet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will pay disposal costs.
To date, 19 CWD-positive animals have been found on six Wisconsin farms. All have been white-tailed deer except for one elk imported from a Minnesota herd later found to be infected. More than 8,000 farm-raised deer and elk have been tested in Wisconsin, and about 540 herds are enrolled in the CWD monitoring program.
Currently 17 herds are under quarantine because there has been at least one CWD-positive animal found in them, because they are linked to infected herds, or because they are inside the Department of Natural Resources CWD eradication zones.