An emergency rule temporarily prohibiting the importation and movement of farmed white-tailed deer into and within Minnesota will be rescinded on Monday, Dec. 6. The temporary rule, which has been in effect since Oct. 11, is one tool the Department of Natural Resources has used to reduce further spread of chronic wasting disease and protect the health of Minnesota’s wild deer.
The Oct. 11 rule was in response to the discovery that a CWD-positive farm in Wisconsin shipped 387 farmed white-tailed deer to farms in seven states, including Minnesota. In enacting the rule, the Minnesota DNR sought time for it, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, and other state and federal agencies to track the movement of deer from the infected farm and understand the potential risk to other herds.
The DNR worked to obtain all available information from agencies outside Minnesota that are involved in the regulation of farmed deer, but has concluded that learning more won’t be possible due to loss of records, variability in the ways other jurisdictions monitor CWD in deer farms and in wild deer, and the lack of testing in some other states. As a result, the DNR cannot fully determine the risk these deer pose to Minnesota’s wild and farmed deer populations, but believes it has done all it can to understand the risks posed by the Taylor County, Wisconsin farm.
“This temporary ban gave the DNR time to do our due diligence and attempt to gather relevant information. It’s deeply disappointing that there are gaps in data and that more information isn’t available to help us better understand the movement of deer from the CWD-infected farm in Wisconsin,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “However, we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to reduce the spread of CWD and protect our wild white-tailed deer, which are vitally important to Minnesota.”
The DNR built on its CWD-surveillance efforts during this year’s deer season by managing 87 sampling stations in the state’s mandatory and voluntary sampling areas. More than 7,000 samples were collected, which will provide invaluable additional insight regarding the geography and presence of CWD in Minnesota. In addition to its ongoing CWD-surveillance efforts, the DNR will work in cooperation with the BAH to strengthen permanent rules pertaining to interstate and intrastate movement of farmed cervids. People can find out more about the DNR’s efforts to monitor and manage CWD on its website.