10/03/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/03/2023 14:09
HYDE-SMITH ANNOUNCES OVER $207K FOR CWD TESTING PROJECT IN MISS.
MDWFP Will Use USDA Grant as Part of National Effort to Combat Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today announced that $207,541 in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding has been approved for chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance in Mississippi.
Hyde-Smith said the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) will use the FY2023 USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) funding as part of a national effort to further develop and implement CWD management and response activities in cervids (e.g., deer, elk).
"The continued spread of CWD in Mississippi represents a threat to the deer population, and, ultimately, the recreational hunting and outdoor tourism that we rely on in our state," said Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. "The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks will use these USDA dollars on an innovative testing regime that could make it easier for hunters to participate in monitoring CWD."
The grant will support a project titled, "Environmental Surveillance for CWD: Improving Understanding of Natural Risk and Refining RT-QuIC Protocols." RT-QuIC is a test that screens for CWD in both live and dead animals. These tests could allow wildlife management professionals to detect CWD in populations months or years earlier than they can with existing post-mortem tests, which rely on hunters sending tissue samples to the agency.
The MDWFP CWD program is focused on increasing hunter participation in protecting the health of the state's substantial whitetail deer population. Deer hunting represents the largest segment of the outdoor/hunting industry in Mississippi.
Hyde-Smith has worked through the legislative and appropriations processes to escalate the federal response and cooperation with states to combat to CWD, which is a contagious and always fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family.
The FY2024 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, currently pending before the full Senate, recommends $18 million for CWD surveillance, testing, management, and response activities, $13 million of which would be directed to state departments of agriculture and wildlife to respond to CWD.