Saturday, June 15, 2019

Part of Walker's chronically-wasting legacy gets national exposure

The Washington Post has a long piece on the spread of chronic deer wasting disease. 
During the 2016-2017 season, for example, people from 49 other states traveled to Wisconsin to hunt deer, despite nearly every county in the state testing positive for CWD or being adjacent to one that has. 
Records show 32,000 deer were killed in such areas. Although it is not known how many were infected or how many carcasses were taken out of Wisconsin, the potential for spread is clear.
For the record, Scott Walker did his part, as I noted in October:

Walker's 8-year war on Wisconsin's environment. Part 15. CWD remedies chronically wasted

This is the 15th installment in a 21-part series about the damage that Walker has done to Wisconsin's environment. The series will run until the weekend before the election on Nov. 6th.
Wisconsin's traditional nine-day gun deer season begins November 17th - - but under a growing cloud; chronic deer wasting disease now affects 55 of our 72 counties, proving that voluntary practices the DNR is promoting to stem the epidemic are ineffective.

Noted in this early 2018 posting, and in subsequent reporting.

Also noted, in 2017: even less testing for the disease since Walker came into office.

Unfortunately, CWD testing in Wisconsin has plummeted in recent years because of budget cuts and the end of in-person deer registration in 2015. 
From 2002 through 2006 the Department of Natural Resources averaged 25,858 CWD tests annually. Soon after, lawmakers like former Rep. Scott Gunderson, R-Waterford, slashed CWD funding, causing CWD tests to average 9,053 from 2007 through 2010, a nearly three-fold decline. 
Since 2010, the DNR has averaged a record low 5,545 CWD tests annually, even while documenting record CWD cases, including 447 in 2016.
No wonder there is suspicion that someday CWD could jump to humans; one venerable deer processor decided not to take the chance.

This is how you promote that the state is open for business, let alone recreation and tourism?

You would think that Walker would not or could not mishandle the deer hunt in a state where rural voters are such an important part of his base - - and for whom he's curried favor by tweeting about his long hours in a deer stand - - but that is what he's managed to do. 

Because a 'chamber of commerce mentality' managed DNR in an administration so obsessively focused on business - - including supporting commercial deer farms which are definitely part of the CWD problem - - dealing with wildlife disease just isn't going to be a priority, as I pointed out in November, 2016
Today we learned that the DNR will not meet a reporting deadline about its plan to control Chronic Wasting Disease that is decimating deer herds and jeopardizing the culturally-significant-and-economically-crucial deer season.
The DNR had been tasked by the Natural Resources Board to provide an update by the end of the year on the state's efforts to combat CWD, a fatal disease found in deer, elk and other cervids. 
The DNR did not provide the first five-year review, prompting the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and the NRB to request a report this year..
A hunter friend of mine wonders why the DNR hasn't been more focused on this important task given all the deer license revenue flowing into the agency.
Is it because the agency is more beholden to the privately-run deer farms that have rising influence in Walker and Stepp's world?
Deer farms are big business as they offer hunting of captive deer for up to $10,000 each; state and federal funds can be paid out to operators whose herds must be euthanized because they are carrying CWD, the Journal Sentinel explained.


Anonymous said...

Maximizing gun thug freedum!

Katrina said...

Your article doesn't mention that the source of CWD was and is the private deer farms which are regulated by DATCP. DATCP and the GOP are responsible for not having double fencing around these farms and allowing for the spread of CWD. And Deer license fees cover the costs of a lot more than deer management. They cover wildlife managements and law enforcement. Any attempt to raise the license fees has been squashed by the GOP legislature. Go ahead and blame the DNR but just know that they are not always the problem. DATCP and the GOP led legislature have played a huge role in this mess.

James Rowen said...

To Katrina: I did not make the deer farm point as explicit as you explain it, but they are referenced more than once in the environmental series reference: