American Cervid Alliance Denounces Florida’s Ban on Deer Importation

September 30, 2013

PENSACOLA, Fla. — The American Cervid Alliance announces its opposition to the recent ruling by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) which bans the importation of deer and other cervids into the state, reduces hunting opportunities and jeopardizes the livelihood of deer farmers and ranchers across the state.

The FWC recently passed a deer import ban to allegedly protect the Florida’s deer population from Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The statewide ban prohibits deer farms, hunting preserves and others from importing deer, elk and all other cervid species, regardless of any prior testing and whether the animals originate from CWD-monitored herds.

“At best, the statewide ban on deer importation is seriously misguided or disingenuous. At worst, it’s political games and economic protectionism. Either way, there’s very little about this decision that is based on science,” says Charly Seale, a council member for the American Cervid Alliance and executive director of the Exotic Wildlife Association. “The only real certainties in this ruling are that it will cost the State of Florida jobs; it will harm the state economy and it will do very little to prevent an occurrence of CWD.”

Seale explains that research has shown that CWD can be spread in a variety of ways — the movement of wild deer, both live and harvested; as well as by crows, varmints and other scavengers — so singling out law-abiding farmers and businesses in the deer industry is short-sighted and unjustified. In addition, while positive-test cases of CWD has been found in many states, the disease is not the ‘massive contagion’ that some claim it to be. The facts are that CWD has never made a significant impact on any herd in any state, and the actual science demonstrates that cervid herds have grown and thrived despite CWD being found. For example, the Colorado Division of Wildlife identified CWD in a wild elk in 1981, marking it the first documented case of CWD in a wild cervid. But the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation reports Colorado’s elk population grew 50% to 70% larger from 1984 to 2009.

“The ACA and other deer industry groups are always ready and willing to work with state agencies for the betterment of the deer population,” adds Seale. “We all want the herds to be healthy and thriving, however, the FWC importation ban is not good policy. It does not differentiate between species that are resistant to CWD, nor does it take into account whether the animal is coming from a CWD-monitored area or from a CWD-monitored herd. The ban also grants exemptions which undermine the alleged purpose of the ban in the first place. We urge the FWC to reconsider this ban and we’ll be happy to partner with them in creating a workable solution.”

The American Cervid Alliance (ACA) is a leadership council comprised of representatives from 29 separate elk, deer, and exotic associations. The ACA works to protect and promote the private property rights of individual members of our participating cervid industry associations. As part of its mission, the ACA explores all avenues — education, negotiations, research, lobbying or legal challenges — to preserve its members’ rights to participate in private business ventures that include breeding, raising, harvesting, marketing and legal movement of farm-raised cervids.

For more information about the American Cervid Alliance, visit www.AmericanCervidAlliance.org or call 402-756-3355.

The American Cervid Alliance is a 501c(5) nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the rights of its members to participate in private business ventures that include breeding, raising, harvesting, marketing and legal movement of farm-raised cervids. For more information, visit www.AmericanCervidAlliance.org.

 


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