American Cervid Alliance

Missouri's Ag Department Should Regulate Deer Farmers

January 20, 2015

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 20, 2015

Regarding "Missouri bill to switch oversight of deer farms returns" (online Jan. 6):

New legislative bills moving farmed deer under the oversight of the Department of Agriculture will be heard again this session following the controversy of last session’s debates in Jefferson City. The bill is still needed because the Missouri Department of Conservation, which oversees deer farms, is pushing regulations that are designed to put them out of business.

In October, MDC adopted regulations that banned the importation of all deer from out of state into Missouri hunting preserves. At the surface, this may look like MDC wants to ensure deer are not imported from states with chronic wasting disease. But the agency did not even allow importation of farmed deer and elk from states that have not found CWD. Instead, MDC banned all farmed deer and elk. This includes, by MDC’s definition, deer family species such as fallow deer, axis deer, Pere David deer, which have all been deemed non-susceptible to CWD by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This blanket ban of species that cannot even contract the disease shows one of two things: Either the MDC intends to simply choke out the hunting of deer in private preserves, or the MDC’s wildlife officials are not informed enough. Whichever the case, the state Department of Agriculture is better equipped to regulate deer farmers.

Travis Lowe  •  Lawrence, Kan.

Executive director, North American Elk Breeders Association

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