FW: Test of deer for disease sought - THNT 8/18
- With all of the screaming about how deer need to be killed because there
too many in NJ, they are importing more, for hunters.
Test of deer for disease sought
Published in the Home News Tribune 8/18/03
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
TRENTON -- State wildlife officials are seeking a court order to test
at a New Jersey hunting preserve for a fatal disease affecting wildlife
the western United States.
The 20 white-tailed deer were shipped to New Jersey from Wisconsin,
chronic wasting disease is prevalent.
The state Department of Environmental Protection already has quarantined
preserves -- Big Spring Whitetail Preserves in Sussex County, where the
were shipped, and Mountain Trail Whitetails Bowhunting Preserve in
County, which later bought nine of the deer.
Superior Court Judge Theodore Bozonelis on Sept. 16 will hear the DEP's
request for free access to more than 100 dear and elk kept at Big
The only way to test for the disease is by examining an animal's brain
so the DEP, in essence, is seeking to euthanize some of the animals at
There is no evidence the deer are infected with the disease, but state
officials said they are trying to be proactive in preventing the deadly
wildlife disease from gaining a foothold on the East Coast via New
"Our primary concern is the potential introduction of chronic wasting
disease into New Jersey's cervid population -- our deer and related
species," DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell told The Star-Ledger of
"This is a disease that has reached epidemic proportions among deer and
in the West and Midwest."
The DEP claims the January 2002 shipment was illegal and beyond the
a permit under which preserve owner Petar Bubalo operates.
Wisconsin is one of 12 states hit hard by the highly contagious disease,
which is similar to mad cow disease and attacks the animal's central
Deputy Attorney General Ronald Heksch argues that because the imported
already have roamed freely with deer and elk already on the property,
DEP needs to test members of the herd.
The DEP also wants to force Bubalo to erect a secondary fence around the
gated property to keep Big Spring animals from interacting with animals
"We need to act within reason and not panic," said Evan Nappen, a lawyer
Bubalo. "There is nothing indicating these deer were infected at the
Wisconsin preserve where they came from."
The judge said he will decide the fencing issue this week.
The DEP accidentally discovered the deer shipment while talking with
Wisconsin wildlife officials last month.
Wisconsin discovered it had some infected animals in the state in
2002, a month after the shipment to New Jersey. Two months later, New
imposed a ban on imported deer and elk.
The DEP claims that if Big Spring went through proper channels to import
deer, it would have taken at least 90 days to process the permits, and
would have been long enough for the state to find out that chronic
disease had been detected in Wisconsin.
C copyright 2003 Gannett News Service
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