by R.A. Forrest

To the people of Colorado: On Nov 20th the Colorado Division of Wildlife sent out a policy trial balloon quoted as follows:

"11/20/03, By DAN D'AMBROSIO, Associated Press Writer

DENVER (AP) - The Colorado Department of Wildlife is expected to drop a requirement for hunters in northeast Colorado to submit deer and elk heads to be tested for chronic wasting disease, a spokesman said Thursday.

Instead, the department will encourage hunters to voluntarily submit the remains for testing, spokesman Todd Malmsbury said.

The move does not mean the disease is waning in the area. Malmsbury said voluntary submission provides more than enough samples for testing surveillance.

Chronic wasting disease attacks the brains of infected animals, eventually causing them to become fatally emaciated. Researchers have yet to discover how it is spread. There is no evidence the disease can harm people.…

The decision to drop mandatory testing will be presented to the state Wildlife Commission in early January. ….

The DOW has alternated between requiring hunters in northeast Colorado to submit heads and making it voluntary, Malmsbury said. ''What we found is whether there is a mandatory requirement or whether we simply strongly advise and urge hunters to submit (animals) we get a large number of animals for testing,'' Malmsbury said.

It costs $15 for the test, which Malmsbury described as a ''tiny part'' of the overall cost of a hunt. He said some hunters have the test done for their own peace of mind.

The wildlife commission will also begin discussions in January on whether to drop the requirement to cut and wrap carcasses before they are transported outside a game management unit.

Malmsbury said there is no evidence CWD is spread by carcasses. Also, he said states as far-flung as California and Virginia have their own restrictions on transporting deer and elk carcasses.

''There's no longer as strong a need for that carcass restriction,'' Malmsbury said. ''However, it's important to keep in mind that this is in the draft stage.'' END

The CWD Foundation (a non-profit Colorado corporation) is appalled and disgusted by the DOW's apparently calloused and duplicitous position. Seemingly, the DOW is willing to "TEST" human susceptibility of CWD by making endemic area CWD testing voluntary, forcing the consumer to sustain the inconvenience and cost of testing for a continually spreading, poorly understood wildlife disease with possible human implications. Their proposed policy is effectively a green light for unaware consumer consumption of CWD-positive meat.

FACT: While no evidence of any human effects has been found to date, it is still unknown if a human version mutation is possible.

FACT: Currently, there are no significant restrictions as to the co-mingling and processing, or the consumption of potentially CWD positive wild-shot meat.

FACT: The USDA requires that ALL domestic elk and deer meat for resale be tested negative prior to release to the public. No carcass commingling is allowed.

FACT: CWD infectivity is experimentally passed to test subjects via injection or oral consumption of brain, spinal cord, spleen, lymph nodes and possibly other bodily parts. Blood products may be infective. These are PARTS OF A CARCASS.

FACT: To the best evidence, the CWD causal agent has an incubation period of 33 month +/- 2 months and is known to be resident in the environment via the saliva, feces, urine or potentially via carcasses debris.

The hypocrisy and duplicitous nature of the Division's proposed CWD policy is obvious. Concurrently, the Division demands zero risk of CWD from alternative livestock elk farmers, vociferously demanding import, export, intra-state movement, double fences, 100% death testing, 60-month testing requirements etc., yet the Alternative Livestock industry has not had a positive CWD, already-quarantined, domestic animal in over 18 months, despite thousands of tests. The Division itself is not willing to require, nor pay for mandatory testing endemic area animals. ANIMALS, WHICH WILL BE CONSUMED BY THE PUBLIC! The DOW will make the hunters perform the sample collection and pay for the testing! Saving money for themselves, while exposing the hunting population, perhaps the entire human population to a risk of mutated CWD. This is an intolerable, abhorant position.

The Wildlife Commission will be meeting in Gunnison on the 9th and in Montrose on the 16th and at continuing regular intervals around the state. Be there to express your concerns.

Rich Forrest
Research Director
The CWD Foundation
Box 55
South Fork, CO 81154

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