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Lawmakers Propose Bill That Would Impose Restrictions On CWD-Infected Deer Farms

Rep. Nick Milroy Says Bill Would Help Curb The Spread Of CWD

Toby Talbot/AP Photo

One northern Wisconsin lawmaker has co-sponsored a bill that would place new rules on deer farms. The goal of the legislation is to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease.

Rep. Nick Milroy, D-South Range, is sponsoring the bill with fellow democratic lawmaker Rep. Dana Wachs. The bill dubbed the “Save Our Deer” Act would require CWD-infected deer farms to use double-fencing and electronically monitor gates. The legislation would also require deer farms to be inspected every two years.

“We think that it’s a common-sense proposal to require that farms that have animals that are tested as CWD-positive that they take extra measures to make sure that they’re minimizing the chance that CWD could spread from captive deer to wild populations,” Milroy said.

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Milroy said deer farms infected with CWD pose a great risk to Wisconsin’s billion-dollar wild deer herd. However, deer farmers say more restrictions are unnecessary and do nothing to curb the spread of chronic wasting disease.

Rick Vojtik, deer farm owner and president of Whitetails of Wisconsin, said in an email Wednesday that there’s no science to show fencing issues play a role in the spread of CWD.

“Having more fence inspections is again based on the false narrative that we somehow don’t care if our deer get out. These animals are often worth thousands of dollars,” wrote Vojtik in an email. “Increased fence inspections would create more costs within the DNR to manage, when they could be spending the time and money doing something to make a difference.”

Vojtik added that lawmakers should devote more efforts toward research of the deadly deer disease rather than “fighting and finger pointing.”

A DNR advisory committee has proposed the agency require double-fencing on CWD-infected farms as the state develops a new long-term plan to address chronic wasting disease.

Milroy said they’re seeking bipartisan support on the bill.