Senate approves Zorn bill to fight Chronic Wasting Disease in Michigan deer

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LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate has approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to protect Michigan’s deer herds from Chronic Wasting Disease by preventing bringing of whole deer, elk or moose carcasses into the state.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. The disease attacks the brains of infected animals and produces small lesions that result in death. A deer can live with CWD for years and spread it through contact with other animals.

“A healthy deer population is important to both our state’s natural ecosystem and our economy,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “We take the threat of CWD extremely seriously, and this legislation is part of an ongoing, statewide effort to do everything possible to fight the spread of this horrible disease in Michigan’s deer herds.”

Senate Bill 211 would create penalties for importing a carcass or parts of a carcass from a deer, elk or moose into Michigan. Offenders would face misdemeanor penalties of up to 90 days in jail, a $500 to $2,000 fine, or both.

Hunters would still be able to bring in finished taxidermy, hides and antlers. In addition, deboned meat, quarters or other parts would be allowed as long as they do not have any part of the spinal column or head attached.

“While this is about empowering Michigan wildlife officials to prevent the spread of the devastating disease in our deer population, it is also about supporting our hunting heritage and the health of the herd,” Zorn said. “Hunting plays a key role in the way of life for many Michigan families, and our state has more than 650,000 deer hunters who contribute more than $2.3 billion to our economy each year.”

A total of 24 states and two Canadian provinces have found CWD in both free-ranging and captive deer, elk and moose. In Michigan, a total of 11 captive and wild deer have tested positive for CWD since 2015.

For more information about CWD in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/cwd.

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