FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 2, 2009
Contact: Mary Dettloff 517-335-3014
Kent County Private Cervid Facility Charged With Violation of Quarantine
The operators of a private cervid facility located in Kent County's Algoma Township have been charged with violation of the Michigan Department of Agriculture's (MDA) Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Quarantine Order issued in August 2008 after a three-year old Kent County female white-tailed deer tested positive for the disease.
James and Brian Schuiteman, owners of J & B Whitetails, were recently arraigned in 63-1 District Court in Rockford and charged with violating Michigan's Animal Industry Act for movement of an animal in violation of the quarantine placed on their facility by MDA. This is a felony charge carrying a penalty of $1,000 to $5,000 in fines and imprisonment of up to five years. The Schuitemans waived their right to a preliminary exam in court today.
The charge stems from an incident on Aug. 23, the day after the quarantine was issued by MDA. At approximately midnight, Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers David Rodgers and Michael Mshar observed two persons enter the quarantined facility with flashlights and a tranquilizer gun. The officers witnessed the subjects seek out a specific deer, tranquilize it, and then remove the deer. The deer was loaded into an enclosed trailer, and towed from the property, where officers conducted a traffic stop to detain the suspects.
Officers determined a live male white-tailed deer was contained in the trailer with identification tags removed. Upon questioning the suspects, the officers learned it was their intent to release the buck into the wild. Officers returned the animal to the facility where it was euthanized and immediately transported to the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health at Michigan State University for testing. The deer tested negative for CWD.
The DNR's investigation of J & B Whitetails also resulted in the review of records at Big Buck Taxidermy, located adjacent to the enclosure. Investigators determined two free-ranging deer with intact heads were imported into Michigan illegally and delivered to Big Buck Taxidermy by customers. The deer were taken from known CWD-positive areas in Wyoming and South Dakota.
For more information on CWD in Michigan, visit the Michigan Emerging Diseases Web site at http://www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.
The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.
Blame wasting disease on game ranching
By Bob Scammell - Red Deer Advocate
Published: February 12, 2009 7:28 AM
Apparently the only worse thing than holding a deer holocaust to try to halt the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in Alberta is suddenly to announce its cancellation, as the Alberta government did late in January.
Nobody seems to know how many hundreds of deer have been killed in the winter culls out near the Saskatchewan border, but they have produced 40 of the 59 CWD-infected deer found in Alberta to date.
CWD, caused by microscopic organisms called prions, is like mad cow disease and is always fatal to infected ungulates such as deer, elk and moose. It is not yet known to infect humans, but experts are nervous about the prion propensity to jump species.
The primary reason for cancelling the program is expense - about $1.3 million so far, including the $750,000 spent on testing the heads collected from hunters.
This winter there will be no cull, and perhaps no testing either of heads provided by hunters this fall.
In fairness, government spokesmen have said they are stepping back from culling and testing in order to analyze the results and reassess the program. Suffice the culls have many critics, including this column, concerned about wiping out whole herds of deer to find a few infected with CWD.
Many people believe that the culls are merely slowing the tide of CWD-infected animals from Saskatchewan where the disease is virtually out of control and the government there is doing little about it.
The Alberta Fish and Game Association, initially a hard sell on the culls program, eventually supported it and is now outraged about its end, even before it was publicly announced. Among the AFGA Resolutions and Recommendations that are to be considered by the delegates to the organization's annual conference in Edmonton later this month and released six weeks ago, is an Executive resolution asking that the Alberta government restore the culls.
In an Edmonton Journal story, AFGA president, Maurice Nadeau, is quoted as saying "The last thing we need is to have this disease spread all over the province and have people treating our deer like vermin . . . no more welcome here than Norway rats."
Alberta's program assessment, like those in other jurisdictions, will likely conclude that culls don't work and are merely hush puppies tossed to a public worried about our wild ungulate herds being wiped out, the possibility of the disease jumping to cattle, and then humans.
So, what do we do that is likely to end the scourge of CWD?
The ultimate answer is the same today for Calgarian Darrel Rowledge as it was 20 years ago when he first started battling government privatization of public wildlife in general and legalization of game ranching in particular. Prairie province governments forged ahead with those initiatives, totally ignoring the warnings of respected scientists of the very disease problems that now overwhelm us. Only Manitoba has had the sense and the guts to ban game ranching.
Darrel Rowledge called the other day and was more upbeat than I can ever recall. He said he is seeing signs in government - particularly federal - people that they finally recognize the enormity of the problem they have caused and what must be done to stop the spread of CWD and ultimately end it.
Rowledge has prepared a superb report for the Alberta Professional Outfitters Society collecting all the science and all the material on how CWD came to us and the magnitude of its threat to us and our wildlife. Rowledge has also produced a summary book of about 250 pages titled NO ACCIDENT . . . Public Policy and Chronic Wasting Disease in Canada, the first key recommendation of which calls for: "An immediate moratorium on the movement of all potentially infected tissue living or dead. The ban must apply to all animals, carcasses, tissues, products (including velvet and urine) and all potentially infected equipment." (Me: in other words - read my lips - end game ranching). Further, "a leadership role (must) be assumed by the Government of Canada to work with the provinces to undertake immediate comprehensive assessment and review."
Now there's an excellent resolution for the first AFGA conference of its second century, instead of one calling for the continuation of the cervid holocaust, game ranching being perhaps a greater wildlife threat than any the organization had to battle in its first century.
Back in 1996, following confirmation of CWD on a game farm in Saskatchewan, Dr. Elizabeth S. Williams was asked what we should do if the disease spilled over into public wildlife: "You'll have to be aggressive," she said, "remove all sources . . . and all potential movement. Cut wider and deeper than you ever think necessary. The deer will come back; but you'll get one chance. If CWD gets established, you'll have it for a very long time."
Forgive my aggression and cynicism, but I just have to muse that nothing would get the Feds moving quite like the discovery of just one CWD-infected deer in Ontario.
Bob Scammell is an award-winning outdoors writer living in Red Deer.
(Bob Scammell is a Red Deer lawyer and an award-winning outdoors freelance writer. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com )
Friday, February 20, 2009
Both Sides of the Fence: A Strategic Review of Chronic Wasting Disease
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Chronic wasting disease in a Wisconsin white-tailed deer farm 79% INFECTION RATE
Contents: September 1 2008, Volume 20, Issue 5
snip...see full text ;
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
CWD to tighten taxidermy rules Hunters need to understand regulations
Monday, January 05, 2009CWD, GAME FARMS, BAITING, AND POLITICS
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Kent County Private Cervid Facility Charged With Violation of Quarantine