NADeFA Opposes Missouri’s Harsh New Farming Regulations

CANTON, Ohio — The North American Deer Farmers Association has announced its opposition to recently proposed new regulations in Missouri, which deer industry experts agree are unnecessary and will adversely effect the state economy.

On April 28, 2014, the regulations committee for the Missouri Department of Conservation approved nearly 25 pages of new, stricter regulations concerning farm-raised whitetail deer, mule deer, and hybrids. Despite the fact that Missouri already has some of the most stringent testing guidelines of any industry in the nation, the new regulations, if approved, will add new and burdensome controls on movement, fencing, ownership, testing, tagging and record-keeping.

“These new regulations will kill the industry in Missouri and force most farmers to quit or move to another state,” says Shawn Schafer, executive director for the North American Deer Farmers Association. “This is a huge overreaction by the MDC over Chronic Wasting Disease, a neurological disease which has received a lot of headlines but has actually had no quantifiable impact on any deer herd, anywhere. These proposed regulations are not based on any peer-reviewed scientific evidence and will only serve to stifle or kill a growing industry that benefits family-owned farms across the state.”

Schafer explains that of the estimated 1.4 million whitetail deer in Missouri, there have only been 10 reported cases of CWD in the wild and 11 cases within fenced hunting preserves, and all of the cases occurring in the preserves were animals born on the property, so there is no evidence to suggest additional regulations are needed. In addition, the state tested 3,666 wild deer harvested during and after the 2013 deer-hunting season — a scientifically negligible one quarter of one percent (0.0026) of the herd population — and CWD was not detected at all. Deer farmers and hunting preserves test 100 percent of animals harvested.

In contrast, hemorrhagic diseases such as Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) and Blue Tongue Virus (BTV) have killed more than 200,000 deer in Missouri and the MDC has taken no actions to prevent its spread and its continued devastation on the state’s deer population.

“We support oversight and continued testing for CWD, but EHD is the real and proven threat to Missouri’s deer population,” adds Schafer. ”We strongly urge the MDC to focus its resources for disease prevention on the diseases that are actually impacting the deer as well as sportsmen across the state.”

The North American Deer Farmers Association was founded in 1983 and is dedicated to the promotion of deer farming and ranching as an agricultural pursuit and serves its members through its educational programs and publications and by providing leadership in setting and maintaining quality standards. NADeFA represents the deer farming industry at all levels of government, and works closely with livestock producers and other organizations to promote ethical standards of conduct and husbandry in deer farming and to actively market standards for deer and deer products. NADeFA representatives are also available to media for expert testimony and information about deer farming and animal health issues, such as Chronic Wasting Disease, EHD and other topics.

For more information about NADeFA and membership, call 330.454.3944 or visit www.NADeFA.org.