Daines Sponsors Bill to Study Chronic Wasting Disease

Republican senator’s proposal would require National Academies of Sciences to review CWD data

By Beacon Staff

U.S. Senator Steve Daines, R-Montana, recently cosponsored a piece of legislation that would require a detailed review of chronic wasting disease (CWD), which has recently been detected in at least three white-tailed deer in Libby.

According to a press release from Daines’ office, he introduced last week the Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission in Cervidae Study Act, which requires the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Interior secretaries to enter into an arrangement with the National Academies of Sciences to review current data and best management practices from federal and state agencies regarding Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) transmissions and produce a report detailing the findings and recommendations for countering CWD.

“CWD is a terror to Montana’s wildlife and livestock,” Daines stated in the release. “This legislation is about protecting Montana’s outdoor economy and countering the spread of disease on both our public and private lands.”

CWD is a degenerative neurological disorder that affects cervids, including multiple species of deer, elk, and moose.

Infected cervids may exhibit many symptoms including weight loss or wasting, poor balance, excessive salivation, difficulty swallowing, and others. CWD has a 100 percent mortality rate.

The spread of CWD has impacted both wild and captive animals, including farm-raised cervids across the United States. CWD has caused economic losses for U.S. farm-raised cervid operations and may affect wild cervids.

CWD has been found in south-central and north-central portions of Montana. For the first time, several deer have been identified to be carrying CWD in NW Montana near Libby.