U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, Mark Green and Paul Ryan, all members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Chronic Wasting Disease Taskforce, sent a letter on Monday to House Agriculture appropriators requesting support for President Bush’s Fiscal Year 2005 budget request of $20.1 million for the surveillance, management, research, and eradication of chronic wasting disease (CWD), a fatal neurological disease found amongst the nation’s populations of wild and captive cervids.

“As an avid hunter and father of two little boys to whom I hope to pass on the wonders of outdoor recreation, I remain concerned about the impact of CWD on our quality of life and our economy,” said Rep. Ron Kind, who organized the CWD letter as part of his ongoing leadership on the issue. “That’s why I believe it is imperative that federal funds be provided to help authorities continue to monitor this deadly disease in order to avoid future outbreaks.”

“Chronic Wasting Disease is severely threatening the health of Wisconsin’s deer herd, and the proud hunting tradition that is synonymous with our state,” Rep. Mark Green said. “Containing and ultimately eradicating this threat requires a clear, coordinated effort between both the state and federal government, and these proposed funds are a vital part of that effort.”

“Deer hunting is an integral part of Wisconsin’s culture and economy, and we need to protect our people and our heritage by dealing effectively with CWD,” Rep. Paul Ryan said. “This budget request is key to ensuring that the federal government supports our efforts to combat the disease. As a bow and gun hunter myself, I want to be sure our deer are healthy and that our venison is safe to eat.”

The letter was sent to the Chairman and ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations in advance of their prospective consideration of federal funding commitments.