NC Deer & Elk Farmers Prepare to Defend Cervid Industry
November 6, 2014
Earlier this summer, the North Carolina Senate and House of Representatives approved language that would offer common sense reform for cervid farmers. Included in a bill signed into law by the Governor, was language to ensure the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission use the USDA cervid regulations as its guide and not impose any requirements that exceed the federal CWD standards. The language also directed the Wildlife Resources Commission to issue permits to new deer and elk farmers and the ability to construct or expand their facilities. Now the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), which serves as the states’ natural resources arm, is working to circumvent the direction of the legislature.
The NCWRC is now pressing additional questions of which cervid species are legal to sell. In a recent meeting in Raleigh, the NCWRC voted to allow new farms to be built for axis, fallow and red deer, but not for whitetail deer and elk. The new discussion has prompted new energy from the North Carolina Deer & Elk Farmers Association to ensure their ability to sell whitetail and elk is protected in state statute. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has longed opposed the expansion of deer farming citing concerns of Chronic Wasting Disease as a reason to prohibit additional cervid farms. Actual science, however, shows CWD has been discovered in nine states in the wild deer population but not on cervid farms.
“We are going to keep educating accurate science,” said Tom Smith, president of the North Carolina Deer & Elk Farmers Association (NCDEFA). “We are not going away.” Several state senators and representatives have already contacted the association offering support.
Leaders of the cervid industry believe the NCWRC will make every attempt to stall the direction given by the legislature. The North Carolina cervid debate comes at the same time NCWRC’s counterpart agency in Missouri set their targets on local deer farmers. Eric Mohlman, a board member of the North American Elk Breeders Association, said this trend is expected. “In states like North Carolina we see their wildlife commission work to move mountains if it means suppressing elk and deer farmers. They are using hunters as a means to justify additional regulations for Chronic Wasting Disease. However, polling shows only 10% of hunters are worried about deer diseases.”
The NCDEFA will host its membership meeting this Saturday, November 8, in Mooresville, North Carolina.