Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Game Commission: Without Effective Chronic Wasting Disease Controls, CWD Will Spread And Threaten PA’s $1.6 Billion Hunting Industry

On February 27, Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans told the House Game and Fisheries Committee “chronic wasting disease threatens our hunting heritage, and the state’s $1.6 billion industry tied to hunting.”
He appeared before the Committee to present the Commission’s latest annual report.
While acknowledge some control measures like using sharpshooters to reduce herd size in certain areas can be unpopular, “To ignore this disease will lead to one certain result – CWD will increase in prevalence and spread throughout the state. When CWD prevalence rates get too high, it is unlikely we can ever turn the clock back. We are witnessing this in Wisconsin right now where prevalence rates are over 50 percent in certain areas.”
In addition to public information sessions and other outreach efforts to educate hunters about the disease, the Game Commission this year will be providing the agency’s hunter digest to all hunters at no cost.
The digest will include information on CWD, information on how the agency is managing this disease, and up-to-date information on the current understanding of CWD.
This and other steps are being taken, Burhan said, to “combat the misinformation constantly being distributed to the public” about CWD.
He also spoke about other challenges faced by the agency including West Nile Virus infections among the ruffed grouse and white-nose syndrome in some species of bates.
“Some of these threats continue to grow. The fact Pennsylvania has more than 100 designated species of greatest conservation need speaks volumes to the difficulties that wildlife continues to face,” said Burhans.
Click Here for a copy of Burhan’s written testimony.  Click Here for a copy of the Game Commission’s latest annual report.
Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-York) serves as Majority Chair of the House Game and Fisheries Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-705-7167 or send email to:  Rep. William Kortz (D-Allegheny) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-780-4783 or send email to:
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