Missouri Deer Industry Wins Lawsuit Against MO Dept. of Conservation

September 16, 2016

Statement from Jacques deMoss, President of the Missouri Deer Association, regarding the Court’s Order in Hill, et al. v. Missouri Department of Conservation, et al.

We are very pleased the judge agreed that the state of Missouri does not have – and cannot take – ownership of privately owned animals. The deer in question have never been a part of the wild. They were born and raised on private farms with considerable financial investment from deer farmers, while the state has invested nothing in them.

The Conservation Department used the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease as justification for trying to take an ownership interest in these deer. We share Conservation’s concern about CWD, just as we are concerned about all of the diseases that can affect animals. In fact, the deer farmers who have invested millions of their own dollars in acquiring and raising these deer have a greater financial stake than anyone in seeing that they remain disease free. We fully support the Conservation Department’s efforts to control the spread of CWD in the wild population and hope that it continues to improve its surveillance of deer in the wild.

We do not think we are beyond regulation by the state. We have contended from the beginning that we think that the Missouri Department of Agriculture is the appropriate agency to regulate our privately owned deer, just as they regulate other privately owned animals in the state. In fact, the Department of Agriculture has regulated our industry for years and actually had its own regulations governing the importation of private deer and testing of harvested deer for CWD before Conservation tried to ban importation completely. Those regulations are consistent with the standards adopted by the United States Department of Agriculture. It is absurd that one state agency would attempt to ban what another agency from the same branch of state government allows subject to certain regulations.

This litigation has not finally concluded until the time for appeal expires or an appeal is decided. For that reason, we ask that any inquiries be made through our counsel, Jean Paul Bradshaw of the law firm of Lathrop & Gage LLP. He can be reached at 816-460-5507 or jpbradshaw@lathropgage.com. 


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