NAEBA Points to Holes in Health Canada’s Chronic Wasting Disease Warning

July 5, 2017

NAEBA Points to Holes in Health Canada’s Chronic Wasting Disease Warning

In response to June 24, 2017’s The Tyee news article “New Research Sparks Health Canada Warning Deer Plague Might Infect Humans”, written by Andrew Nikiforuk, the North American Elk Breeders Association offers the following statement:

The North American Elk Breeders Association is disturbed by a recent article published by The Tyee in June regarding Health Canada’s concern for Chronic Wasting Disease posing health risks to humans.

First and foremost, the North American Elk Breeders Association (NAEBA) holds Chronic Wasting Disease as a serious disease for elk, deer and moose that should be given adequate attention. NAEBA’s own 501(c)(3) foundation, known as the Elk Research Council, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Chronic Wasting Disease research including efforts to develop a vaccine. However, NAEBA insists regulatory policy regarding Chronic Wasting Disease be based off best known science and not political bias.

Upon review of The Tyee news article, NAEBA finds the article unjustifiably incites public fear. The title itself calls the disease a “deer plague”. Plagues are historically considered by the public to be a disease that wipes out a large population. NAEBA disputes a rare disease such as Chronic Wasting Disease with an incident rate of 1/1000 be likened to a plague.

Regarding Health Canada’s announcement, NAEBA questions the validity of the research. NAEBA does not believe supernatural inoculation is valid, nor does feeding of severely infected meat to monkeys prove that transmission is possible to humans. There is no evidence to suggest a person has ever been infected with Chronic Wasting Disease.  Administering a supernatural dose of a prion disease to any mammal is likely to cause some type of neurological event. There is no known lethal dose level for Chronic Wasting Disease, therefore researchers in a lab can work behind closed doors until they see a result they like. To stress this point, the United States Department of Agriculture’s federal rule for Chronic Wasting Disease explicitly states the rule shall not apply to any species experimentally infected by the disease as it is not an indicator of natural susceptibility.

Chronic Wasting Disease has existed in the wild in Colorado and several other states for decades and people have been unknowingly consuming meat from Chronic Wasting Disease infected deer for decades. There is no evidence of a single case of a person contracting Chronic Wasting Disease.  The World Health Organization says, “currently there is no evidence that Chronic Wasting Disease can be transmitted to humans,” and researchers with the Public Health Agency of Canada reported this year that a review of 14 studies “provided no evidence to support the possibility of transmission of Chronic Wasting Disease prions to humans.”    

An article or study that promotes supernatural inoculation of mammals in lab experiments causes irreparable harm to the elk and deer ranching industry, as well as the free-range hunting community.

NAEBA does not recommend anyone consume meat from any animal that displays Chronic Wasting Disease symptoms. This word of caution applies to any animal that looks sick; use common sense.

The North American Elk Breeders Association, or NAEBA, is a 501(c)(5) non-profit organization representing the elk ranching industry in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Formed in 1990, NAEBA is recognized by federal authorities as the voice of the industry and enjoys Allied Industry Status in the United States Animal Health Association.


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