On CWD, Thompson, Joyce get it half right

Congressmen Glenn Thompson and John Joyce’s proposal to spend $15 million on Chronic Wasting Disease research in the hopes of developing a future cure and learning more about the disease, while laudable, only serves to kick the can down the road.

Any cure or vaccine will likely be years — if not decades — away, if one can indeed be discovered. In the meantime, the disease will progress across new areas of Pennsylvania and the incidence rate will increase.

The congressman states he wants to use “science, not sharpshooters,” but the Pennsylvania Game Commission plan is science-based and supported by wildlife scientists and agencies tasked with controlling CWD.

Those who refuse to address this issue now are ensuring a future deer herd with higher incidence rates of CWD across the landscape.

States like Wisconsin and West Virginia provide a startling example of what will happen if nothing is immediately done — infection rates exceeding 25 percent of the deer herd.

The choice is clear: Act now and reduce the herd through increased permits available to hunters along with targeted removals in CWD areas. Do this in conjunction with the research funding proposed by the congressmen, but not in place of it.

Otherwise, Pennsylvania sportsmen and women will have to live with a high incidence of CWD that will ultimately reduce the deer herd through disease.

This will result in fewer deer hunters and jeopardize the future of wild deer hunting in Pennsylvania.

John P. Dunn