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#2762075 - 02/19/12 10:35 PM Re: deer farming vote postponed [Re: Pursuit Hunter]
Monty
6 Point


Registered: 03/10/07
Posts: 509
Loc: Bedford Co.

Offline
A significant focus of the w-t deer farming proponents has been on the prevention side of the equation, which is important. However, IMO, preventive measures are only as good as their enforcement - without enforcement, attaining voluntary compliance from all concerned is wishful thinking. I'd even go so far as to say that the majority of the potential deer farmers would obey the rules and regulations; but there will be those who won't, and it only takes one to introduce CWD into Tennessee.

WI has some pretty good audit and inspection findings that I believe are applicable to our situation, when it comes to a historical perspective on potential harm. These are highlights from the referenced docs...

Summary of a Statewide Audit and Inspection of Wisconsin’s Captive Whitetail Deer Farms
Conducted September-December, 2002


Deer Held in Captivity


Based on discussions with deer farmers, there are more deer in captivity in Wisconsin than verifiable through current reporting methods. The difficulty to maintain an accurate count of captive deer ultimately undermines the ability to document escapes which may have disease management implications. (pg 8)


Captive Deer Escapes

In the course of the audits, the operators of 182 of the 550 farms indicated that they had deer escape from their pens into the wild at some time during the lifetime of the operation. The minimum number of whitetail deer involved in these escapes based on the audit worksheets was 671; 436 deer were never recovered. Wardens noted the unintentional escapes typically resulted from storm-damaged fences, gates left open and dogs chasing deer through fences. (pg8)

 One farmer told wardens that an unknown number of deer escaped from his farm. In response to this and based on the presence of CWD within the farmer’s captive herd, wardens began efforts to shoot and sample deer in close proximity to the pen. One deer shot by a warden outside the farmer’s pen was marked with an ear tag that the farmer identified as one of his own. This deer later tested positive for CWD. This deer is the only known recovery from those that escaped. (pg 8)

Intentional Release of Captive Deer During the audit process, two deer farm operators told to wardens that they intentionally released their captive deer into the wild.

 A deer farmer, believing that the market for captive deer was going to be adversely impacted by the discovery of CWD in Wisconsin, released all nine of his whitetail deer into the wild. Of those, three were ear-tagged. In August 2002, approximately three months after the deer had been released,
conservation wardens shot five deer near the farmer’s fence and submitted them for CWD sampling. The remaining deer, including the three ear-tagged deer, have not been located. (pg 9)

Captive Deer Health and Mortality

Deer farmers reported a total of 1,222 deer died in captivity during the last several years. Some of these deer died of complications during immobilization and transport; others died of unknown causes. Most deer were not tested for any disease. Instances of sick deer found in captivity were referred to DATCP.

 Wardens responded to a complaint of a foul odor coming from a deer farm and discovered the decomposing carcasses of five deer. They were able to recover several official identification tags from the carcasses and were able to link one of them to a neighboring state. No postmortem disease testing could be performed on these deer due to decomposition of vital tissues. Wardens attempted to audit the farmer several times but were unsuccessful.

 Wardens conducted an audit and learned that the owner depopulated his entire herd shortly after the DATCP freeze on captive deer movement within the state. The farmer stated that he shot and killed all 34 deer and buried them on his property. (pg 9)

A Risk-based Audit of the Captive/Privately-owned Cervid Industry in Michigan, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Report Series, Issue Report No. 1, March 10, 2005

Overall, auditors determined that 37% of all C/P-OC facilities were not in compliance with current regulations at the time of the audit. The principal areas of deficiency related to the identification of animals, the rate of CWD testing, conditions of fences, and the rate and reporting of escaped animals. In spite of a mandatory testing program for all C/P-OC over 16 months of age that die plus a representative percentage of culls, nearly 90% of the reported C/P-OC deaths were not tested for CWD.

The lack of a specified protocol for de-commissioning or de-registering a C/P-OC facility is a risk for introduction and propagation of CWD. Procedures to deal with facility abandonment, are conspicuously absent and critically needed. As an example, when inspectors visited a facility during the audit, fences were down, the C/P-OC were gone, and the owner had moved out of state.

These audit findings also revealed the risk of C/P-OC escapes. In spite of the fact that reporting of “releases” is mandatory in current regulations, it is clear not only that escapes occur but that they are rarely reported.

An emerging issue with respect to the risks of CWD introduction and propagation is potential environmental contamination via the manure or carcasses of infected animals.

Measures of the overall non-compliance of C/P-OC facilities (37% of C/P-OC facilities judged noncompliant by audit inspectors) essentially speak for themselves.





Edited by Monty (02/19/12 10:36 PM)
_________________________
"What is man without the beasts? For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected." (Chief Seattle)

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#2762249 - 02/20/12 07:38 AM Re: deer farming vote postponed [Re: Monty]
Diehard Hunter
CRAMP
12 Point


Registered: 08/01/08
Posts: 6980
Loc: East Tennessee

Offline
Excellent post Monty.

We have a very good example of what can happen right here in Tennessee. The red deer in Claiborne county are escapees from a deer farm. From what I understand, the owner's guard unit was activated and while he was deployed severe storms damaged his fences, allowing the red deer to escape. Even though we can easily tell the red deer from our native white-tails, the eradication effort has not been too successful. Imagine if those had been white-tails that were carrying disease. The only solutionwould be to depopulate the entire area. (That is a nice way of saying kill as many deer as possible using sharpshooter, not hunters)

Please folks.....let off now, we have to stop this deer farming AKA livestock bill before it gets started.
_________________________
The recreational value of a game animal is inverse to the artificiality of its origin and the intensiveness of the management system that produced it. Aldo Leopold


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#2762589 - 02/20/12 01:23 PM Re: deer farming vote postponed [Re: Pursuit Hunter]
Monty
6 Point


Registered: 03/10/07
Posts: 509
Loc: Bedford Co.

Offline
Just sent this to most of Ag committee members - didn't waste pixals sending it to the sponsors.

To: rep.dale.ford@capitol.tn.gov, rep.curtis.halford@capitol.tn.gov, rep.steve.mcdaniel@capitol.tn.gov, rep.johnny.shaw@capitol.tn.gov, rep.john.windle@capitol.tn.gov, rep.eddie.bass@capitol.tn.gov, rep.sheila.butt@capitol.tn.gov, rep.bill.sanderson@capitol.tn.gov

Dear Agriculture Committee Members,

This Tuesday HB3164 will again be before you and you have another serious decision to make. Again, I respectfully request that you not support this bill because it most probably will have profound, down-the-road, adverse impacts on Tennessee's deer herds and the financial and recreational benefits they provide to taxpayers - both present and future. There is significant likelihood that opening our State's borders to white-tailed deer imports will bring with it chronic wasting disease. I know, this is an old, frequently repeated concern that proponents of this bad bill are doing their best to down-play and marginalize. It just isn't as innocent and benign as the sponsor tries to make it sound.

Please don't let them sway you with promises of effective regulations and control measures. If these regs and measures work so effectively, then why is CWD continuing to spread closer to Tennessee? Every year CWD moves closer to our borders and animals, principally w-t deer, continue being reported with the incurable, fatal disease. If this were such an innocuous, harmless business venture using a game animal, then why didn't Conservation committee members ignore the CWD and other disease concerns of notable professionals and pass the sponsor's bill last year? They knew better. They clearly understood the unacceptable risks.

Consider this: the proponent's control measures are preventative in application, as have been other states' erstwhile attempts to prevent CWD from entering their deer herds. The number of states failing in preventive efforts continues to increase. The costs of trying to control the disease once it is in their herds is in the million$ - hundreds of million$ in many states. Why do even the best preventative measures fail?

It isn't the many law-abiding, reliable operators we need to fear so much; it is the unreliable, uncaring, and pure ole opportunists trying to make a quick dollar who have little or no intention of obeying the laws that will move animals to wherever there's a market or other opportunity for gain (e.g. wild hogs). I spent a career fighting these kinds of individuals on state-wide, national, and international markets. It will happen, of that you can be 100% certain as history clearly shows.

I've attached two short excerpts from MI and WI audits that substantiate many of my concerns. History, as you know, has a way of repeating itself for those who do not learn from either their or other's mistakes. Please, let's not repeat these other states' mistakes and allow w-t deer farming into Tennessee. It's a bad bet on a business with unacceptably high risks for us.
_________________________
"What is man without the beasts? For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected." (Chief Seattle)

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#2763574 - 02/21/12 10:46 AM Re: deer farming vote postponed [Re: JCDEERMAN]
RiverBuck10
8 Point


Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 1448
Loc: Hamilton, Co TN

Offline
Hallelujah!!! Awesome!! Matty you are the man!! Great stuff!!



Edited by RiverBuck10 (02/21/12 10:51 AM)
_________________________
Blessing,
RiverBuck

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#2763606 - 02/21/12 11:12 AM Re: deer farming vote postponed [Re: RiverBuck10]
Monty
6 Point


Registered: 03/10/07
Posts: 509
Loc: Bedford Co.

Offline
Today's reply from Rep. Butt's - I sent her a profound thank you, along with praise for her due diligence - wish more of'em would follow her example....

"Dear Mr. Monty xxxxxxx,

Thank you so much for writing to me concerning HB 3164, otherwise known as the "deer farming" bill. When the bill was first introduced, I signed on as a co-sponsor believing that this would be a good way for farmers who were interested to begin a game breeding operation and bring in some revenue from their property. I believe strongly in our free enterprise system and a person's freedom to make a living.

That being said, when so much opposition arose to the bill, I began an intensive study of game breeding, or "deer farming" in other states. I found that 34 states have this type of operation. Most are disease free. Four states have had incidences of CWD, but it cannot be proven that the disease came from a deer operation. You may or may not know that many species of deer are already being brought into Tennessee as well as elk and we have remained disease free.

In talking with people from other states which included State Veterinarians, Cattlemen, Natural Wildlife Resource Agencies and Departments of Agriculture, I found that it is possible to remain disease free but not without many safeguards. Ideally, the Department of Agriculture in conjunction with Natural Resource Agencies would promulgate the rules, there would be in place a system by which the State Veterinarian could register and identify the deer and monitor for disease and in some cases there should be a minimum acreage. There are tamper proof RFID tags as well as computer chips now available for identification. There is even DNA testing which would help identify each animal.

Having studied these things, I believe it would be possible to maintain a disease free state if everyone followed the rules. And that is what I found to be the problem in most states. There were many incidences of those who would not follow the rules. Most states who have remained disease free are no longer importing deer. Several closed to imports in 2002-2004, but still export stock.

You know that every time we bring in a horse, a cow, a deer or an elk, etc., to Tennessee, there is a possibility of bringing in disease. However, from the overwhelming response of my constituents, I do not believe that Tennessee or Tennesseans are ready to begin "deer farming." I think that a wise person will change his/her mind when presented with substantial and valid arguments and that is where I am on this bill. I will not vote for HB 3164 at this time.

Again, thank you for sharing your concerns with me! Please feel free to contact me at any time.


My Best,

Sheila Butt
State Representative
District 64
1-615-741-3005
rep.sheila.butt@capitol.tn.gov"
_________________________
"What is man without the beasts? For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected." (Chief Seattle)

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#2763732 - 02/21/12 01:17 PM Re: deer farming vote postponed [Re: Monty]
Diehard Hunter
CRAMP
12 Point


Registered: 08/01/08
Posts: 6980
Loc: East Tennessee

Offline
Almost time....
_________________________
The recreational value of a game animal is inverse to the artificiality of its origin and the intensiveness of the management system that produced it. Aldo Leopold


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#2763900 - 02/21/12 04:08 PM Re: deer farming vote postponed [Re: Diehard Hunter]
Monty
6 Point


Registered: 03/10/07
Posts: 509
Loc: Bedford Co.

Offline
Well, the emails and phone calls are working on some of the Ag Comm members. A couple flatly stated the hundreds of contacts they've received are 100% or thereabouts totally against the bill.
_________________________
"What is man without the beasts? For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected." (Chief Seattle)

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#2764047 - 02/21/12 07:24 PM Re: deer farming vote postponed [Re: Monty]
TNlandowner
6 Point


Registered: 03/28/06
Posts: 568
Loc: Carroll County

Offline
Here was Representative Weaver's response to my letter of concern.


"Greetings,

Thank you very much for your concern with HB3164. Please know that serving on the Ag Committee further expresses my promise to uphold and protect our resources in this great state, including our wildlife.

HB3164 simply addresses the right for property owners to add another livestock resource to sustain agricultural enterprises in Tennessee. This bill does not privatize wild white-tailed deer. TWRA would continue to be responsible for managing the wild deer resource.

The Department of Agriculture would hold high standards that would exceed those of other states. All deer imported into the state currently follow strict animal disease testing protocol established by the Department of Agriculture. Any deer farmed in Tennessee will not be captured deer from our wild herd. Instead, regulations will prohibit any deer brought into this state from any state that has had CWD; only deer from herds certified disease-free for 5 years will be brought in. These deer will typically be raised for meat, hides, antlers, and purposes other than hunting. Throughout the U.S. where deer are commercially raised, they coexist with cattle herds; therefore, stating deer spread disease to cattle is just not true. As a member of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, if I thought deer farming would endanger our cattle industry, no way would I support it.

I see this legislation as a decision of landowners to choose to raise white-tailed deer commercially, just as farmers choose to raise cattle or horses. Passage of this bill would help rural farmers and give them another alternative livestock. It would create jobs, bring more revenue into our rural counties, and help sustain our family farms. I see no way how this would change the sport of deer hunting.

I so appreciate your concern and your voice when it involves our precious resources. That being said, I will continue to listen to the facts as they are presented in committees.
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”—John Adams

It is a pleasure to serve you.

Respectfully,

Representative Terri Lynn Weaver"

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#2764237 - 02/21/12 10:35 PM Re: deer farming vote postponed [Re: TNlandowner]
budro2
Spike


Registered: 02/27/10
Posts: 74
Loc: tn,perry

Offline
you better light up her phone lines and email. i started another post labeled deer farming supported by rep weaver. and emailed her. let her see the opposition on this site.
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#2764268 - 02/21/12 11:25 PM Re: deer farming vote postponed [Re: budro2]
Beekeeper
Good ol' Boys "Team Buckcreek"
16 Point


Registered: 08/26/09
Posts: 12232
Loc: McMinn Co. Tennessee

Offline
The vote on HB3164 has been deferred to 3/6/2012.

http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/default.aspx?BillNumber=HB3164

Once again Niceley has elected not to bring this bill up for a vote. There could be many reasons that he has done this but I suspect that he was not sure it would pass. It is my understanding that if he brings it to a vote and it fails it will be dead for the rest of this year and can't be brought up for a vote until next year. We have to keep the pressure up and not forget this bill.

Remember, 3/6/12 is the date he has set for this bill to be voted on. This gives us a couple of weeks to really hammer the members of this committee and maybe we can swing some more over to our way of thinking.
_________________________
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)




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