Game Commission shows bias
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in wild deer herds has spread within a few miles of the Pennsylvania elk restoration grounds.
As a result, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) appears to be developing a blame narrative as depicted in the PGC press release issued on July 26, 2017 titled “Suspicious Deer Discovered in Elk County.”
What is suspicious, is the actions of the PGC regarding the two deer referenced in the PGC press release.
Both animals, buck and doe, looked strong and healthy when PGC officers killed them.
During the necropsy (autopsy for animals), again both animals exhibited no signs of illness and appeared completely healthy.
Yet the PGC press release attempts to convince the public that this buck and doe had to be killed because they possessed a substantially greater risk of sickness and disease than other wild animals in the same area.
This claim is unfounded and incredibly harmful to approximately 1000 farm families across Pennsylvania’s landscape.
The PGC Bureau Director of Wildlife Management confirmed that both animals referenced in the PGC press release tested non-detected for CWD. The non-detected CWD test results from these two animals highlight a bias within PGC, a bias the farming community has been concerned about for a long time. This bias was displayed again on Aug. 4, when a Cameron County media outlet ran a story stating they had confirmation from a PGC official that the two animals in question from Elk County tested positive for CWD.
This was “fake news,” however. Multiple requests to this media outlet for their PGC source which confirmed false information has been met without response.
The herd certified program (HCP) within the farmed deer industry tests 100 percent of all age eligible deer deaths off the farm. Many deer farms have been doing this level of testing for more than 15 years. Comparatively, the PGC tests less than .05 percent of the wild deer population within the commonwealth annually.
During the last two years, at the request of the Governor, Pennsylvania Deer Farmers Association (PDFA) leadership has participated in numerous State interagency meetings pursuing a collaborative and constructive process in dealing with CWD.
PGC’s recent actions seem to intentionally be unraveling the positive progress made in these five-way interagency meetings.
While PGC’s motives for their recent actions can only be assumed, what seems clear is the anticipation of a significant rise of WILD deer to likely test positive for CWD in 2017.
This level of new wild positives will likely draw strong scrutiny of PGC’s management decisions from the hunting public, and as such, manufacturing the farmed deer industry as a scape goat to shift the blame towards could be very useful to them.
Current PGC surveillance data details the significant rise of CWD presence within Pennsylvania’s wild deer herd. I would hope this unfortunate and undeniable new reality would promote the building of relationships to assist in managing this disease.
Glenn Dice, Jr.
President, PA Deer Farmers Association