Target: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Goal: Commend efforts to protect deer from deadly wasting disease
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently voted unanimously to ban the import of live deer, elk and other cervids to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease. Chronic wasting disease has now been found in 22 states. In 13 of the states the disease has been found in captive populations. Chronic wasting disease is an incurable, fatal prion (a protein particle that is believed to be the cause of brain diseases) disease similar to mad cow disease. There is no vaccine, and there is no live test.
Deer and other cervids are imported into Florida to stock breeding ranches and captive hunting ranches. On captive hunting ranches, deer and other animals are kept in captivity for hunters to kill. The ranches advertise that hunters will have “100% success,” and many advocate a “no kill no pay” policy. Sadly, many of the animals on these ranches have become accustomed to humans, making them even easier to kill. In some captive hunting ranches, exotic animals like zebra to endangered animals are available to hunt as well. Most organizations will not include captive caught animals on their “trophy” lists, as these are not a fair fight and do not show the hunter’s skills.
Kate MacFall, Florida state director for The Humane Society of the United States. said: “We are extremely thankful that the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to approve this ban. Prohibiting the importation of cervids into the state is an essential step toward preventing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease into Florida. The health of our native wildlife is far too important to risk just so someone can bring in an out-of-state deer to be shot behind a fence.”
Fortunately, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is looking out for Florida’s wildlife first and foremost, before captive hunting ranches profits. Commend the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for putting Florida’s wildlife first and protecting them from this terrible disease.
Dear Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,
Thank you for banning the import of deer and other cervids in Florida. Protecting Florida’s wildlife from this deadly wasting disease is very important, and I commend you for making an attempt to keep the disease from spreading.
The spread of wasting disease is something I hope you can keep on top of in Florida. Since it is present in many captive populations, your unanimous vote to ban imports of deer and other cervids that will mostly go into captive populations is the right thing to do.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dcoetzee via Wikimedia Commons