MADISON – Tests on the last of an elk herd destroyed in Manitowoc County found no further chronic wasting disease, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced today.
Testing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, detected no CWD among 83 animals killed May 20 on the Eugene Sperber farm in Valders. Previously the department announced that no CWD had been detected in the 93 elk destroyed on the farm May 6.
The herd was killed in two stages because the carcasses must be stored and refrigerated until test results return, and the available storage space could not hold the remains of the entire herd.
In a related development, the department announced that quarantines have been released on two elk herds involved in the Sperber investigation. Herds owned by Stanley and Mary Bajdan, Wild Rose, and John Michels and Michael Bennin, Chilton, had been quarantined because they received elk from Sperber. Investigators have determined that the animals they bought had not been exposed to the infected elk on Sperber’s farm.
The carcasses of all the elk have been or will be landfilled. If any had tested positive for CWD, those carcasses would have been incinerated at a Poynette animal crematorium.
The herd “depopulation” came about because a single elk from Sperber’s farm tested positive for CWD after dying in a fight in early March. It was among animals he had legally imported from a Minnesota farm later found to be infected with CWD. After the positive test, the remaining 17 Minnesota animals were killed. None tested positive for CWD. Because his entire herd had been exposed to the single positive animal, they were also tested. There is no live test for CWD.
Sperber will be required to burn or bury all feed, bedding, manure and wooden feed troughs used by the elk. 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. Sperber must also maintain fences around his property to keep wild whitetail deer from entering. He can re-introduce elk or other cervids such as deer after a year, providing he enrolls in the CWD monitoring program and tests all animals that die, regardless of age. He may use the property for other species in the meantime.
Sperber will receive a federal indemnity payment for the animals equal to 95 percent of their appraised replacement value. The state will pay two-thirds of the remainder.