MADISON ― The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has ordered a Walworth County whitetail deer and elk herd to be killed and tested for chronic wasting disease.
The herd, owned by Wayne Kuhnke of Delavan, has been quarantined since September 2002, because animal health officials believe it has been exposed to CWD.
Kuhnke has 10 days from receipt of the order to request a hearing with the department’s administrative law judge.
The herd was quarantined after a CWD-positive whitetail deer was found on a Portage County farm last September. According to records and the owner of that deer, he had bought it from Kuhnke.
In October, a deer on a farm in Eagle tested positive for CWD. When authorities killed that herd, four more deer tested positive. According to the owner and herd records, all five had come from Kuhnke’s farm.
Three whitetail deer from Kuhnke’s farm have been tested; CWD was not detected in any of them.
Kuhnke has about 15 whitetail deer and 10 elk. The order does not set a date for killing the animals, but says it would be no sooner than 10 days after he receives the order. If money is available, Kuhnke will be paid two-thirds of the value of the animals, up to $1,500 apiece. He will not be charged for any of the killing and testing costs, but will be responsible for disposal costs, including cold storage until test results are available. Any animals that test positive must be incinerated; others will be landfilled.
Kuhnke will have to burn or bury all bedding, manure, feed, wooden feeders and other wooden items that the animals touched, such as fence posts. Metal, concrete or plastic surfaces will need to be cleaned of all residue. In areas that had heavy animal traffic, he will have to remove and bury the top two inches of soil and replace it with clean gravel or soil. DATCP and U.S. Department of Agriculture employees will then disinfect the premises. Kuhnke must also maintain fences around his property high enough and strong enough to keep wild whitetails out. He cannot restock with any species that is susceptible to CWD for five years, but may have other animals.
Wisconsin law authorizes the department to order farm-raised deer and elk tested for CWD if there is reason to believe they’ve been exposed to the disease. Because there is no live test approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, they must be killed.