American Cervid Alliance

Update on Missouri Deer Regulation Changes

April 29, 2014

COLUMBIA, MO- Yesterday, news of the approved regulation changes for whitetail deer and mule deer farmers in Missouri swept across the nation.  The Missouri Department of Conservation, which currently has jurisdiction over whitetail and mule deer farms, proposed and adopted new regulations through its own agency’s rule making committee process.  The changes are expected to be signed off by the Conservation Department director.  As outlined by the Missouri Whitetail Deer Breeders & Hunting Ranch Association, the changes embark new extreme policies never seen before in any state in the history of cervid farming.

Closed borders, double fencing, ten foot fences, mandatory Chronic Wasting Disease program enrollment, testing of all moralities over the age of six months, and crippling barriers for next generation owners and out of state partnerships is just a sample of what the agency deems as sound policy. The changes also include keeping records for fifteen years and marking burial spots for each diseased deer.  Deer farmers across the state have converged on the Statehouse to appeal to legislators to move their jurisdiction from the Missouri Department of Conservation to the Department of Agriculture.

The changes from the agency have not been approved by the State Legislature, nor do they have to be. The Missouri Department of Conservation can alter their own regulations themselves.  The caveat is the Missouri Whitetail Deer Breeders & Hunting Ranch Association has already been working with legislators to adopt legislation to move deer farming oversight to the Department of Agriculture.  There could be action on these measures as of this week. The Department of Conservation is urging its citizens to “adamantly oppose” the bill in the name of protecting the state’s whitetail deer population.   

Elk have been classified as livestock and under jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture since 1995. The new regulation changes do not apply to elk farms, but only to whitetail deer, mule deer, and their respective hybrids.

Deer farmers have flooded the state capitol asserting the devastating effects this would have on the existing deer farmers and the virtual impediment for new ones.  The cervid industries in other states watch very closely as they depend on the interstate commerce in and out of Missouri, making this much bigger than just a Missouri problem.

The substance of the regulations from the Conservation agency comes as no surprise as special interests groups have been advocating for such polices in Missouri heavily for the last year in the news and even radio ads. Several of the proposed changes have been suggested in many of the versions of the USDA/APHIS Chronic Wasting Disease Program Standards, which has been a source of unrest for the unified cervid industry.  



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