Chronic wasting disease epidemic spreads in Wisconsin deer

Gov Walker, deer czar Kroll, some hunting groups become passive over brain rotting disease-

It’s aim for the lowest common denominator in management of Wisconsin’s huge whitetail population. The incidence of chronic wasting disease (CWD), the prion-based malady that turns deer (and elk and moose) brains into sponges has gone from a half per cent in 2002 to 5 per cent (10x increase) today.

The spread of infectious diseases requires a public strategy, but public is an idea foreign to right wing governor Scott Walker and his “deer czar” James (“public deer management is Communism”) Kroll.

We have written many stories on CWD, a close relative to mad-cow disease. So far CWD is not transmitted to humans. While venison eaters seem safe for now, the CWD causal agent is a prion. This is a misfolded protein that corrupts healthy neural proteins into more prions. The end result is disgustingly sick, terminal deer. CWD prions are a kind of ultimate pollution as well, lying in the soil for an indefinite (permanent?) time waiting for a deer or other cervid to come along. They are very resistant to natural decay.

Wisconsin outdoor writer Patrick Durkin has been sounding the alarm at Walker’s termination of the state’s CWD-eradication program. Ironically, this change leaves the state’s wolf population as the only thing in the outdoors now serving to control the spread of the disease. Wolves tend to kill the weaker animals in a herd, thus culling to a greater or lesser degree some of the CWD-addled deer.

In present day Wisconsin, like a number of other states (mostly “red” ones), it seems the number of deer, regardless of their health, is the only thing that matters politically.

The disastrous effects of this indifferent approach to the horrible wildlife disease will never be fully reversed. While it must be stressed there is no evidence that humans have ever gotten this disease, these non-living prions do change over time, and they can suddenly cross species barriers. That is what probably happened with mad-cow disease jumping to humans. A spark of hope is that newspapers in the Dairy State are covering and so magnifying alarm sounded by Durkin and others.

The ideological approach to wildlife management always results in death and decay.