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Deer Farm Industry in Michigan Issues Statement on the Recent Chronic Wasting Disease Case Identified on a Kent County Deer Farm
Date:8/29/2008

HILLMAN, Mich., Aug. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to recent news about Michigan's first identified case of chronic wasting disease (CWD), members of the deer farming community have issued the following statement.

With hunting season fast approaching, the tragic incident regarding a CWD positive test for a deer on a Kent County farm understandably has created concern among hunters, outdoor enthusiasts and deer farmers across the great state of Michigan. The deer farming industry in Michigan is committed to preventing the spread of chronic wasting disease and is cooperating fully with both the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources to bring a swift and conclusive resolution to this difficult situation.

Michigan's protocols to handle a chronic wasting disease case are working the way our industry, DNR, and MDA originally conceived them. It should also be noted the farm in question was fully complying with mandatory state regulatory requirements issued by MDA, which is why we remain hopeful that a thorough investigation will reveal this case to be an isolated incident.

The deer farming industry and state officials in Michigan have taken the issue of chronic wasting disease seriously, long before this incident ever occurred. In fact, it is because of our united commitment to testing that this case was even identified in the first place. The Cervid Farmers of Michigan, Michigan Deer and Elk Breeders Association, North American Deer Farmers Association, along with regulatory state agencies continuously work together to make sure deer farms and wildlife in Michigan are CWD free. The recent incident only serves to reaffirm our resolve to stop the spread of chronic wasting disease.

With more than 600 deer farms under quarantine right now, the entire industry is at a standstill. Deer farming, as a regulated alternative livestock industry is a $1 billion industry in Michigan and it is a vital part of the state's agriculture community.

Every dollar the local agriculture community produces gets used 2.6 times before it leaves those local communities, according to research by the Michigan State University Agriculture Economics Department. This means the $104 million locally-based agriculture industry has an economic impact of $270 million annually for local communities in Michigan. A damaged deer farming industry will have negative repercussions on the state's agriculture community and the economy as a whole because the longer Michigan's deer farms are shut down -- the greater the financial impact there will be for local communities.

We as an industry are continuing to be cooperative and helpful to ensure this incident did not spread outside our state and federally regulated and secured properties. The deer farming industry is committed to assisting in any way possible to find the cause for the chronic wasting disease case in Kent County, but the industry is asking for a swift resolution to this issue and the lifting of the quarantine on those farms with no connection to the affected farm.


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SOURCE North American Deer Farmers Association; Cervid Farmers ofMichigan;
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