The state’s agriculture and natural resource agencies continue to work together in the watch for Chronic Wasting Disease, the ailment that affects wild deer and elk much like Mad Cow strikes cattle. The Department of Natural Resource’s Dale Garner says the agency will test four-thousand deer this fall for C-W-D. They’re sending out postcards to hunters in northeast Iowa and have visited with meat lockers that process game and taxidermists. Garner says the testing of brain tissue from wild animals already is underway. This year they’ve tested tissue from road-killed deer, and some early season youth and bow hunts though the majority of samples will come from the regular deer-hunting season which still lies ahead. No case of C-W-D has ever been found in Iowa — yet. C-W-D’s been found in some captive animals in Minnesota, captive and wild ones in Wisconsin, Nebraska, and South Dakota, and wild deer in Illinois so the focus on the northeast corner of Iowa is in response to the closest outbreaks. Iowa producers who raise deer on farms have complained about agriculture department orders banning the importation of animals from other state. Garner says they still have rules to follow, though they can bring in animals from herds that have undergone testing for three years. Chronic wasting destroys the brains of wild deer and elk and has been found in some animals at game farms. While Mad Cow spread among cattle in Britain from food made out of infected beef, biologists don’t yet know how C-W-D is spread among animals in the wild.
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