Legislature Should Override Nixon's Vetoes on Deer Bills

July 16, 2014

Printed in the St Louis Post-Dispatch

July 16, 2014

The Post-Dispatch is mistaken in its editorial ("Oh, deer," July 10) in support of Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of two bills that would have transferred regulatory oversight of private deer farms from the Department of Conservation to the Department of Agriculture. As many other states such as Kansas, Iowa and Oklahoma already recognize, farmed deer deserve to be regulated as an agriculture industry.

The Department of Conservation, which handles wildlife issues, wants to ban the interstate transport of deer between private farms, and wants to prevent landowners from opening new deer farms in some areas of Missouri. This is an attack on private property rights and free enterprise, and likely an undue burden on interstate commerce.

While the Department of Conservation is promulgating these onerous regulations because it blames deer farms for the spread of chronic wasting disease, this is unbecoming of the evidence. There are already strict requirements for anyone who wants to ship deer interstate, in order to mitigate any risk of disease transmission. At least five years of mortality testing with no evidence of CWD are required before herd owners can achieve certified status and be eligible to move deer across state lines. Herd owners must have fencing, individually ID animals and perform regular inventories.

Private deer farms can be well-regulated and well-run—and they should not be run out of business by overzealous bureaucrats. The Legislature should override Gov. Nixon’s veto and properly regulate farmed deer as livestock.

Sam James  •  Jefferson City

President, Missouri Deer Association



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