NAEBA Opposes Wild Elk Importation into West Virginia

November 25, 2014

Notes Double Standards Practiced by West Virginia DNR

HOWARD LAKE, MN- The North American Elk Breeders Association is denouncing the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources’ elk relocation project bringing wild elk into West Virginia.  The North American Elk Breeders Association (NAEBA), which represents elk ranchers across the United States and Canada, said state wild elk restoration projects do not meet United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) animal health requirements and will put the state at risk.

The United States Department of Agriculture has a comprehensive Chronic Wasting Disease program for the movement of farmed elk and deer. To control and prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, the USDA program, by federal and state law, states that farmed elk and deer must be monitored for CWD for at least five years in order to be approved for interstate transit.  There is no approved live test to bypass monitoring requirements.

NAEBA Executive Director Travis Lowe said the department is ignoring protocol and the project will put the wild deer and farmed elk and deer at risk. “We have seen DNR agencies in several states completely disregard the federal and state CWD programs in order to bring wild elk into their states. This is a very reckless move on their part in order to fill their long term goal to create a system of selling public elk hunts.”

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources recently held a public meeting in Logan County to gauge the public support. Agency officials were quoted in local media saying there was strong support.  Lowe continued, “Restoring wild elk herds sounds great to the public, but it defies logic to see a state agency enforce strict rules on private elk and deer farmers and at the exact same time they will ask to bring in wild elk that are untested and unmonitored."

This is not the first time NAEBA has opposed state wildlife elk relocation projects.  Recently, the Missouri Department of Conservation imported wild elk that were not held to the same Chronic Wasting Disease certification standards required of cervid farmers. Two years later the Missouri Department of Conservation approved new rules to close the state borders to interstate commerce of whitetail deer to “protect the state’s deer population from CWD.” Meanwhile their elk relocation program continues.

“This is just total hypocrisy,” said Lowe. “The DNR agencies are the biggest game breeders in the state. They are just exempt from all the rules.”


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