Joyce bill adds $15 million for CWD

Amendment to budget package would fund federal research study

An amendment to direct $15 million to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease will be included in a larger appropriations package to be voted on by Congress next week.

U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-13th District, brought an amendment to the House floor on Thursday that would direct $15 million within the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service budget to be used for a federal study to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease.

The amendment cleared the House of Representatives by voice vote. Final passage of the broader spending package, which will include the $15 million for the study, will be voted on next week.

“While initial legislative efforts to fund a federal Chronic Wasting Disease study stalled, the issue was too important to 13th District hunters for me to give up on,” a statement attributed to Joyce read. “The passage of this amendment will get us one step closer to finding a cure to CWD, and I’m proud I was able to utilize my first appropriations process to get a huge win for our region.

He stated that he hoped the amendment quickly becomes law so that the Pennsylvania Game Commission no longer needs to proceed with its plans to diminish the area’s deer population in the future.

The CWD issue became controversial when the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced the launch of a pilot study, which aimed to enlist U.S. Department of Agriculture sharpshooters to eliminate potentially a couple thousand deer in the region.

The goal of the pilot study was to examine if lowering the deer population can control the spread of CWD, which has no known cure.

The study was halted due to the lack of permission the sharpshooters were able to gain to private land necessary to set up baiting stations that would help them eliminate the deer.

The struggle between the Game Commission and area hunters over decreasing the deer herd continues.

Sportsmen for the Future have booked Dr. James Kroll — “Dr. Deer” — for a noon presentation and question-and-answer session July 13 at the Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School. Doors will open at 11 a.m., according to an advertisement from the sportsmen.

Kroll, of Texas, is nationally recognized for his work regarding whitetail deer.

His resume from 1981 to the present includes serving as professor of forest wild­life and director of the Institute for Whitetailed Deer Management and Re­search, College of Forestry, Stephen F. Austin State University.