Colorado Wildlife Official: No Evidence of CWD Impact on Wild Population

September 13, 2013

From the American Cervid Alliance Newsroom---

Testimony during Iowa CWD Hearing Claims No Proof Exists linking Long-Term Affects


Last month, during hearings between Tom & Rhonda Brakke and the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, several expert witnesses testified concerning the origin and proven effects of CWD.  Dr. Michael Miller, Senior Wildlife Veterinarian for Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, in his testimony as an expert witness for the State of Iowa, states that there is no proven origin of CWD. In further testimony he says that there is no evidence to prove CWD has had any real impact on free-ranging cervids.  


His remarks come during a time when several political battles rage in states such as Missouri, Louisiana, and New York, which are considering closing their borders because of alleged fear that CWD will completely devastate their free-ranging deer populations.  Florida closed its borders this past Friday after the Florida Fish and Game Commission Passed a unanimous emergency order closing the Florida borders to the importation of CWD susceptible cervids.  In all these states it is the wildlife agencies that are promoting these fears. 


Below are excerpts taken from the hearing transcript in Iowa, which are public record.   


Dr. Michael Miller, Senior Wildlife Veterinarian for Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife:  Testimony on August 14, 2013, Under Oath:


Question asked by Jacob Larsen, Iowa Assistant Attorney General: “And what has been the impact on the herd, overall herd, from the infection rate?”  

Answer by Dr Michael Miller:  “Overall, at a large scale, so at a population level it's been difficult to demonstrate any effect over the period of time. In part because there are a number of other things that influence  particularly deer population dynamics a lot more than a disease like this would in the
short-term: weather events, our own hunting practices, predation.”

Question asked by Jacob Larsen, Iowa Assistant Attorney General:  “But overall you've testified that it was difficult to detect in effect or there was no effect?”
Answer by Dr Michael Miller:  “Correct. And, again, it's hard to distinguish between those two. We've not seen any clear indication of dramatic declines in deer or elk numbers on a large geographic scale
as a result of Chronic Wasting Disease.”

Judge asked question of Dr. Miller:  “Where did the disease originate?”
Answer by Dr Michael Miller:  “No one knows.  I mean the honest-to-goodness answer is that no one knows.  Whether it's a disease that originated in deer or elk and has always been there at some low level for a long time or whether this is the disease of sheep scrapie that had somehow moved itself into deer is -- You know, those are also possibilities.”

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