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April 15,  2002


Action Taken As A Precautionary Step To Prevent the Spread Of Chronic Wasting Disease

(SafetyAlerts) - New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Nathan L. Rudgers and State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty today announced regulations to prohibit the importation of deer and elk into New York State, a precautionary step to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease into wild and farmed herds of animals in the deer family in the State. The regulations take effect immediately.

"By banning the import of deer and elk into the State, we can reduce the risk of the chronic wasting disease entering New York and help to prevent our abundant wild deer herds from being exposed to this deadly disease," DEC Commissioner Crotty said. "New York has a large and healthy deer population that is vital to our environment and economy, and we will continue to work closely with the State Department of Agriculture and Markets and federal agencies to develop effective strategies to halt the spread of this disease and protect wildlife."

State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Rudgers said, "New York is home to a growing number of deer and elk farms, as well as a robust wild deer population. This ban on the movement and importation of deer and elk is an essential disease control measure that will help prevent the introduction of chronic wasting disease into New York State."

Both DEC and the State Department of Agriculture and Markets have responsibilities for protecting captive deer herds in New York State. The State Department of Agriculture and Markets monitors the health and movement of all captive deer for the presence of common livestock diseases. DEC issues licenses to individuals who possess, import or sell white-tailed deer. The two agencies are adopting separate, but coordinated, regulations in an effort to provide comprehensive protection against the introduction of chronic wasting disease into New York State.

There are more than 400 entities in the State raising nearly 10,000 deer and elk in captivity. Many of these entities routinely import captive-bred deer and elk from other states.

Together, the importation bans apply to all members of the cervidae family, including four species of North American deer: the white-tailed deer, mule deer, including the black-tailed subspecies; elk, including European red deer; and moose. In addition, two species of exotic deer - the fallow deer and sika deer - are included in the bans.

Chronic wasting disease has been diagnosed in captive elk or deer herds in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It has been confirmed in wild deer herds in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Wisconsin. There are no known cases of the disease in New York State.

As a relatively new disease, chronic wasting disease is not fully understood at this point. The disease is typified by chronic weight loss and is always fatal. The origin of the disease is unknown, but it is transmittable between animals. To date, chronic wasting disease has been found only in members of the deer family in North America. There is no evidence that the disease is linked to disease in humans or domestic livestock other than deer and elk.

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture has declared chronic wasting disease to be an emergency that threatens the livestock industry of the United States and authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a chronic wasting disease eradication program.

DEC and the State Department of Agriculture and Markets are working on a chronic wasting disease monitoring system for New York and developing strategies for long-term management of the problem, including reviewing efforts of other states.

For additional information on chronic wasting disease or the regulatory ban on importation of deer and elk, contact the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets at 1-800-554-4501 or visit the Department's website at

Source: NYS DAM

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