Today, Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), co-chair of the new Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Task Force on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), introduced two bills that will assist states in combating the spread of the debilitating disease found in wild and domestic mule deer and elk herds. Both of Kind’s CWD bills were introduced with the support of over a dozen, bipartisan Members of Congress from states that have known occurrences of CWD in free-ranging cervids as of March 1, 2003 (Tier 1 states).
“The current USDA-DOI joint working group on CWD recently missed a mandatory deadline for delivering a comprehensive plan to Congress that addresses it’s environmental and economic impact on affected states,” stated Kind. “My National Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force Establishment Act, will strengthen and expand the efforts of those federal agencies and impose greater Congressional oversight.”
Rep. Ron Kind’s bill, The National Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force Establishment Act, codifies the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) joint working group on chronic wasting disease for the next five years. Kind’s bill: requires the USDA-DOI joint working group to produce a comprehensive national strategy to help states combat the disease; increase public understanding of the disease; host a yearly conference to review progress on implementation of their comprehensive plan; and perhaps most importantly, develops an annual cross-cutting budget to provide states the resources they need to implement the plan.
“My second bill, The Chronic Wasting Disease Research, Monitoring, and Education Enhancement Act, will coordinate local, state, and federal research programs to ensure the swift sharing of information. This collaborative effort will, hopefully, more quickly lead to a detailed understanding of CWD and how it is transmitted and help experts develop effective methods to control this deadly disease.”
Congressman Kind’s Chronic Wasting Disease Research, Monitoring, and Education Enhancement Act, designates the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as the lead federal agency to coordinate programs to strengthen scientific research and monitoring of CWD outbreaks. Specifically, the legislation authorizes the USGS to: research the biology and transmissibility of CWD; develop a monitoring and modeling program of infected animals, develop a rapid diagnostic test; develop a live-animal test; and research and develop a vaccine.
“As an avid hunter, and father of two little boys whom I hope to pass on the wonders of outdoor recreation, I am concerned not only about the potentially devastating impact CWD may have on wild deer and elk herds but also on a cherished tradition in our country,” concluded Kind. “I have long held that a vigorous, coordinated effort by federal, state, and local agencies is necessary to develop effective methods of preventing the spread of CWD, and I I believe both of my bills will make the federal government a better partner in states’ efforts to do just that.”
For more detailed information about Rep. Ron Kind’s CWD legislation, including expanded summaries, downloadable copies of the bills, and list of current cosponsors, please visit www.house.gov/kind.