View Full Version : Chronic Wasting Disease
01-31-2002, 05:09 AM
Has anyone heard of this disease going around in the upper states like Wyoming, colorado Saskachewan...etc, about deer suddenly not eating and then Dying off. They think it started on a deer ranch and then spread out into the wild. I will get more info on this but I think this should be handled before it spreads out further into the wild.
01-31-2002, 06:05 AM
###Hi agian Gilles,
###Yes CWD is a big issue with all involvoed in the health of our big game herds,conservation is looking for it everywhere and trying/hopeing to stop its spread.Right now it seems to be mostly out west,this is bad because the Mule Deer population has a hard enough time as it is.
###Missouri has stopped its plans to relocate Elk to this state for fear that CWD would be transfered to our Deer population sooner,right now they can only test animals for it after they are dead,they have no way to test live animals.
###Agian someone feel free to help me out as im not really up to par on this subject,just and article or 2 that i have read.
03-17-2002, 09:24 PM
Disease prompts slaughter of elk, deer herds
By Joseph B. Verrengia
The Associated Press
STONEHAM, Colo. — Every time the backhoe bites into the hard, dry prairie of the All American Antler Ranch, Craig McConnell winces as if the iron claw were ripping open his belly.
Seven hundred tawny elk cluster beneath a blue horizon. McConnell takes a blind step backward and stumbles against bundles of fence posts.
The posts soon will become the crackling pyre on which McConnell's herd and his celebrity as Colorado's "Mr. Elk" — you can read it on the license plates on his truck — will be torched by farm agents.
"They're digging a big grave," McConnell said. "I'm losing my livelihood today — $4 million down into that hole."
It's a showdown between modern science and the legacy of the American West. All because of the latest version of mad-cow disease — chronic wasting disease, CWD, which strikes deer and elk.
CWD first was described 25 years ago. Once a campfire topic among hunters, it's become a "front-burner" public-health concern, experts say, as demand grows for lean game meat and Asian folk medicines made with antler velvet.
Chronic wasting disease is not known to jump from deer and elk to cattle or people. But scientists say that cannot be ruled out. Until the 1980s, no one thought mad-cow disease could strike people.
McConnell admits losing one animal to CWD. But state officials say they have traced at least five sickened animals to his ranch and believe he tried to hide CWD evidence — a charge he hotly denies.
State veterinarians will euthanize and incinerate elk from McConnell's four quarantined ranches. Crews have carried out this scorched-earth policy at two other sites in Colorado. Ultimately, 1,500 farm elk from seven ranches will be killed and burned like hundreds of thousands of cattle in Europe, 6,000 miles away.
There, the beef industry has been devastated by mad cow — bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). More than 100 people have contracted the incurable human form, variant Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease. They had eaten tainted beef.
But the biggest threat in this country is from wild deer, with an estimated 15 percent infected. Government biologists have begun shooting thousands of deer in parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota and Kansas. CWD was detected this winter in three deer in Wisconsin, the first wild cases east of the Mississippi.
All spongiform diseases incubate for years and display wretched symptoms: tiny holes in the brain, emaciation, slobbering and wobbling, then death.
Feedlots concentrate thousands of animals, and interstate trucking spreads infectious agents in hours. Left unchecked, even a slow-acting spongiform disease could become a biological prairie fire.
For thousands of years, these High Plains around the ranch belonged to bison and the Indians who followed them. Immigrant farmers such as the forebears of McConnell's wife, Noreen, busted the sod with iron plows.
McConnell left as a young geologist to seek his fortune in the Alaska oilfields. He returned in the 1980s to punch cattle.
This land hasn't become any more forgiving. By 1992, a struggling McConnell bought five breeding elk, native Plains animals who eat spiny weeds that cattle wouldn't consider. He soon was grossing $300 an acre. His elk herd swelled.
Noreen turned their home into a dude ranch. The McConnells built a two-story headquarters with a family apartment and an indoor auction stage.
What brought it all crashing down? A Jekyll-and-Hyde protein called a prion, invisible to all but an electron microscope.
It was considered heresy in 1982 when prions were suggested as the villain behind spongiform diseases. Nobody knows exactly what prions do, but a bad one adopts a twisted shape that seems to control the pace of brain changes.
CWD was identified in 1977 when graduate student Elizabeth Williams saw tiny holes in brain samples from deer and elk that looked suspiciously like scrapie in sheep.
The federal government has set aside $12.5 million for CWD losses. McConnell calculates his share to be at least $3.2 million. His ranch must remain CWD-free for five years. He plans to reintroduce what didn't work before — cattle. Or bison.
Harder to replace will be a way of life. McConnell's youngest son, Brolin, planned to extend the family's heritage.
"Now that's shot out of the saddle," Noreen McConnell said.
She started thinking about the cake for Brolin's upcoming 16th birthday, then paused to look out the window at the hole.
"We're going ahead with the party," Noreen McConnell said. "But I think I'll put a curtain over that window."
06-16-2002, 08:22 PM
With all the quick decisions being made about deer in Wisconsin and the CWD "outbreak," it has raised a question in my mind. ###Could CWD have always been in the population? ###Is it that we are just testing populations now and finding it. ###There may not actually be a spreading because it has always been there. ###Any opinions here?
06-20-2002, 11:41 AM
Troll, I think it may have been and it is in states that don't even know it yet. (I believe) Colorado has had it for 30 to 40 years but animals still live and people still hunt them and eat the meat... The cwd affects the brain stem of the animal and has yet after 30 years of testing showed and advert effects on the meat.... I think people are panicing over nature taking its course myself.
06-21-2002, 07:28 AM
I did read the other day that Wisconsin tested 1,000 deer in 1999 and received no positives. ###I don't know if that is a big enought sample or not. ###Some people have stated to me that it would be very obvious if CWD was in our area in a large percentage because these animals look very ill. ###I'm not so sure about that. ###Only those in the late stages are very ill and obvious.
By the way, I visit Manitowac (sp?) every summer and really enjoy the area. ###You live in beautiful country.
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