TDA Response to the Houston Chronicle
In her recent editorial to the Houston Chronicle, Humane Society State Director Katie Jarl has chosen to play politics instead of using common sense and promoting good policies to manage the current CWD situation in Texas.
Animal activists couldn’t advance their extreme anti-hunting agenda in the most recent legislative session, they now seek a victory by politicizing CWD. The “never let a crisis go to waste” mentality is in full effect, playing on public fears and misinformation while throwing the Texas deer industry under the bus.
As is apparent in her editorial, Jarl will not let facts stand in the way of creating hysteria. Statements such as “captive breeding facilities are a hotbed for diseases such as CWD”, show Jarl’s complete disregard for a lack of scientific evidence.
There is no credible evidence of a widespread long term negative impact of CWD on any deer population—this information was presented to the public at the July 16th TPWD commission meeting Jarl referenced. (http://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/multimedia/media/presentations/2015-07-16_commission_meeting/2015-07-16_dr_walt_cook_tamu.pdf)
CWD isn’t killing thousands of deer nationwide, but the “preventative measures” enacted by state wildlife and natural resource departments most certainly have.
Far from standing in the way of “the best efforts of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and TAHC (Texas Animal Health Commission)”, deer ranchers in this state have cooperated with CWD-monitoring efforts for a decade. Captive deer mortalities are tested at a significantly higher rate than hunter-harvested, free-ranging deer that are under the auspices of TPWD. (http://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/multimedia/media/commission_20150716/20150716_com_00_commission.mp3)
Texas deer ranchers are actually leading the way in CWD testing and preventative measures. If Ms. Jarl was genuine in her concern for the welfare of the Texas deer herd, I’m certain she would be supporting a substantial increase in CWD testing of wild Texas deer. If the disease is so devastating, officials should be requiring tests at the same percentage rates in all facets of the Texas deer herds; both captive and wild.
The fact that we are even having this discussion demonstrates that the current standards to safeguard deer ARE working. In fact, the ranch from which the positive result occurred was participating in a program set up by the TAHC and TPWD, proving that the monitoring system currently in place is effective.
A quick look at the webpage of the HSUS makes it evident to Texas landowners that the group’s agenda is reflective of their no-high fence philosophy. And while Jarl sounds the alarm for “more stringent testing requirements”—is she aware that the “gold standard” of testing protocols include euthanizing deer? Is Ms. Jarl supporting the slaughter of hundreds or thousands of additional healthy deer to attain her political goals?
According to their mission, the HSUS seeks to “develop humane solutions to wildlife conflicts through innovation.” Perhaps if Ms. Jarl did more research, she would learn that Texas deer ranchers are the ones who support innovative scientific response to CWD management, including the utilization of live-animal testing to minimize the senseless slaughter of non-infected deer.
Texans know a bluff when they see one. I extend an open invitation to Ms. Jarl to visit a Texas deer rancher to see the extreme care and concern we take in the management of our whitetail population, and in our preventative monitoring for CWD. Far from “placing the rest of our wildlife in danger”, intensive deer management works to benefit the health of deer and deer habitat. More regulations aren’t what is imperative in this situation… common sense is.
President, Texas Deer Association