WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Representative Trent Kelly (MS-01) introduced H.R. 1919, the Detection, Enhanced Education, and Response (DEER) Act of 2019, in coordination with U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) This legislation would establish a unified response to the growing threat of chronic wasting disease (CWD), a contagious, fatal disease that affects members of the deer family. There are confirmed cases of CWD in free-ranging and captive populations of the deer family in Mississippi and at least 24 other states.
If signed into law, this legislation would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work in cooperation with state departments of wildlife and agriculture to enhance CWD surveillance, testing, management, and response. A multi-agency CWD task force would be formed to channel findings to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), further enabling the agency to address the CWD epidemic. Additionally, the DEER Act would provide qualified Institutions of Higher Learning resources to continue researching CWD's transmission, effects, and management practices.
"There are more questions than answers about CWD," Rep. Kelly said. "It is critical that we get ahead of this disease, which begins with research. CWD poses a threat to our deer populations, our economy, and potentially human life. Hunting is important to many states throughout the country and is essential to many Mississippians. Hunting contributes one billion dollars a year to our state's economy."
"Chronic Wasting Disease has been found in at least half the country," Sen. Hyde-Smith said. "This represents an ecological and economic problem that deserves serious attention, not just in Mississippi but nationally. I am very pleased Congressman Kelly is leading the charge in the House to find a responsible way to tackle this growing problem."
Current cosponsors for the DEER Act are U.S. Representatives Bennie Thompson (MS-02), Michael Guest (MS-03), Steven Palazzo (MS-04), David Kustoff (TN-08), Bob Gibbs (OH-07), Angie Craig (MN-02), Cynthia Axne (IA-03), Sean Casten (IL-06), Steve Womack (AR-03), Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), and Paul A. Gosar (AZ-04).