American Cervid Alliance Cautions NY Against Deer Import Ban

October 4, 2013

ALBANY, N.Y. — As the New York Department of Agriculture & Markets considers strict new regulations that would ban the importation of cervids (most notably deer, elk and moose) which are susceptible to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the American Cervid Alliance cautions the agency that harsh restrictions are unnecessary and could have unintended consequences for the state’s economy.

Scientific data on CWD indicates a complete ban on the importation of deer and other cervids into the state is an overreaction, plus the ban will reduce hunting opportunities, jeopardize the livelihood of deer farming families, and potentially result in the loss of countless jobs across the state.

“Oversight is better than overreaction,” says Charly Seale, a council member for the American Cervid Alliance and executive director of the Exotic Wildlife Association. “A statewide ban on deer importation is a dramatic overreaction to CWD, a disease that seems to cause more headlines than actual animal deaths. We urge the NY Department of Agriculture to continue its policies for oversight and monitoring the origin of the animals being imported. Let’s make sure the animals are coming from CWD Certified herds and from areas that are known to be free of the disease. That’s precautionary and it makes sense. But let’s not shut down border access to an entire industry for a disease that has never had a negative population effect on any herd, any where.”

Research shows that CWD can be spread in a variety of ways — the movement of wild deer, both live and harvested; as well as by crows, varmints and other scavengers  — so singling out law-abiding farmers and businesses in the deer industry is short-sighted and unjustified. In addition, explains Seale, while positive-test cases of CWD has been found in many states, the disease is not the ‘massive contagion’ that some claim it to be. The facts are that CWD has never made a significant impact on any herd in any state, and the actual science demonstrates that cervid herds have grown and thrived despite CWD being found. For example, the Colorado Division of Wildlife identified CWD in a wild elk in 1981, marking it the first documented case of CWD in a wild cervid. But the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation reports Colorado’s elk population grew 50% to 70% larger from 1984 to 2009.

“Deer industry groups in New York and across the country have long and respected reputations for working side-by-side with state and federal agencies for the betterment of the deer population and the industry,” adds Seale. “Having healthy herds — both wild and farmed — is everyone’s goal, however, there’s simply no scientific evidence that suggests closing the borders is necessary, nor that it would be prevent CWD from ever being detected in the state. We hope New York officials will decide against the ban and in favor of working together with its industry partners.”

The American Cervid Alliance (ACA) is a leadership council comprised of representatives from 29 separate elk, deer, and exotic associations. The ACA works to protect and promote the private property rights of individual members of our participating cervid industry associations. As part of its mission, the ACA explores all avenues — education, negotiations, research, lobbying or legal challenges — to preserve its members’ rights to participate in private business ventures that include breeding, raising, harvesting, marketing and legal movement of farm-raised cervids.  

For more information about the American Cervid Alliance, visit or call 402-756-3355 .

The American Cervid Alliance is a 501c(5) nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the rights of its members to participate in private business ventures that include breeding, raising, harvesting, marketing and legal movement of farm-raised cervids. For more information, visit

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