April 25, 2003 – Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Dan Wyant today extended the state’s existing ban on all imports of cervidae (deer and elk) as a continued precaution against Chronic Wasting Disease. The Department oversees the licensing, registration and inspection of the state’s privately owned, or farmed, deer and elk operations.

Wyant explained that the ban on private cervid movement was originally enacted for one year on April 26, 2002 as a preventive measure after several states detected CWD in their deer and elk. The extension was determined based on a recommendation by MDA State Veterinarian Dr. Joan Arnoldi, in consultation with an advisory committee comprised of representatives from MDA, DNR, Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan State University, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, and the state’s deer and elk industry.

“This action continues the strong preventive measures that have been cooperatively developed and put into place by MDA and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to help keep both Michigan’s farmed and free ranging deer and elk herds free from CWD,” Wyant said. “It is the responsible thing to do until more is known about the scope, transmission and range of this devastating disease.”

Wyant said the ban will be reviewed after six months or after Governor Jennifer M. Granholm’s CWD Task Force issues its report, whichever occurs first.

CWD is a disease of deer and elk that attacks the animals’ nervous systems, causing chronic weight loss that eventually leads to death. It has not been found in Michigan and is not known to be contagious to humans, livestock or other animals.

Last fall, MDA and DNR jointly launched enhanced CWD surveillance and testing efforts. Specific to MDA’s oversight of farmed deer and elk herds, the Department conducts mandatory and intensive CWD surveillance and testing of all death losses from these herds, estimated to be 1,700 to 2,000 animals annually. To date, MDA has tested 1,150 deer and elk from 122 farms in 60 counties across the state for the disease, all of which have been negative. DNR has also tested 4,471 deer and 125 elk for CWD from fall 2002 until now, all of which have also been negative.

For more information on CWD and the state’s prevention and surveillance efforts or response plan, please visit www.michigan.gov/mda or www.michigan.gov/dnr.