Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed two bills on Tuesday that would have redefined captive deer, also referred to by some as farmed deer, as livestock. Senate Bill 506 and House Bill 1326 would have transferred the oversight of captive whitetails from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to the Department of Agriculture, a move supported by many deer breeders and owners of high-fence hunting preserves.

“For more than 75 years, our Department of Conservation has been held up as a model for wildlife management agencies across the country because of its incredible success,” Governor Nixon said in a press release. “Redefining deer as livestock to remove the regulatory role of Department defies both its clear record of achievement as well as common sense. White-tailed deer are wildlife and also game animals—no matter if they’re roaming free, or enclosed in a fenced area.”

Nixon further praised the efforts of the MDC, which he credited for increasing the state’s dwindling deer population from 2,000 in the early 1930s to more than 1.3 million today. Hunting whitetail in Missouri has become a billion-dollar industry and draws more than 500,000 sportsmen and women to the field every year.

The issue of captive deer is a hotly debated one in Missouri, just as it is in many other states. Critics of deer farms blame the facilities for spreading illnesses such as chronic wasting disease, which can spread to wild deer populations as well. Deer breeders, however, say that the MDC is bent on shutting down the industry despite strict regulations and well-maintained facilities.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that they (the Department of Conservation) are trying to put us out of business,” Sam Jones, the president of the Missouri Whitetail Breeders and Hunting Ranch Association, told the Kansas City Star. “They’re trying to regulate us out of the picture.”

Jones said that the majority of captive deer facilities in Missouri are disease-free and regularly tested, but the emergence of chronic wasting disease in just one farm gives the entire industry a bad name.

To Governor Nixon, the debate behind the issue did not change the fact that whitetail deer are considered wildlife and a game animal.

“Putting them behind a fence does not change that fact,” Nixon said. “The Constitution makes clear that the Conservation Commission has the sole authority to control, manage, restore, conserve, and regulate ‘game…and all wildlife.'”

Jones said it is now up to the General Assembly to decide whether they will override the governor’s veto.

File image from M Glasgow on the flickr Creative Commons

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One thought on “Missouri Governor Vetoes Two Captive Deer Bills

  1. here is the video of the speech the good Governor Nixon made on the veto.
    great speech ”deer are NOT livestock”… ”we cannot head back to the bad old
    days, when wildlife decisions, were made by officials worried about the next
    election, rather than professionals committed to doing what’s best for the next
    generation, and the ones to follow that”…






    Conclusions. To our knowledge, this is the first established experimental
    model of CWD in TgSB3985. We found evidence for co-existence or divergence of
    two CWD strains adapted to Tga20 mice and their replication in TgSB3985 mice.
    Finally, we observed phenotypic differences between cervid-derived CWD and
    CWD/Tg20 strains upon propagation in TgSB3985 mice. Further studies are underway
    to characterize these strains.

    We conclude that TSE infectivity is likely to survive burial for long time
    periods with minimal loss of infectivity and limited movement from the original
    burial site. However PMCA results have shown that there is the potential for
    rainwater to elute TSE related material from soil which could lead to the
    contamination of a wider area. These experiments reinforce the importance of
    risk assessment when disposing of TSE risk materials.

    The results show that even highly diluted PrPSc can bind efficiently to
    polypropylene, stainless steel, glass, wood and stone and propagate the
    conversion of normal prion protein. For in vivo experiments, hamsters were ic
    injected with implants incubated in 1% 263K-infected brain homogenate. Hamsters,
    inoculated with 263K-contaminated implants of all groups, developed typical
    signs of prion disease, whereas control animals inoculated with non-contaminated
    materials did not.

    Our data establish that meadow voles are permissive to CWD via peripheral
    exposure route, suggesting they could serve as an environmental reservoir for
    CWD. Additionally, our data are consistent with the hypothesis that at least two
    strains of CWD circulate in naturally-infected cervid populations and provide
    evidence that meadow voles are a useful tool for CWD strain typing.

    Conclusion. CWD prions are shed in saliva and urine of infected deer as
    early as 3 months post infection and throughout the subsequent >1.5 year
    course of infection. In current work we are examining the relationship of
    prionemia to excretion and the impact of excreted prion binding to surfaces and
    particulates in the environment.

    Conclusion. CWD prions (as inferred by prion seeding activity by RT-QuIC)
    are shed in urine of infected deer as early as 6 months post inoculation and
    throughout the subsequent disease course. Further studies are in progress
    refining the real-time urinary prion assay sensitivity and we are examining more
    closely the excretion time frame, magnitude, and sample variables in
    relationship to inoculation route and prionemia in naturally and experimentally
    CWD-infected cervids.

    Conclusions. Our results suggested that the odds of infection for CWD is
    likely controlled by areas that congregate deer thus increasing direct
    transmission (deer-to-deer interactions) or indirect transmission
    (deer-to-environment) by sharing or depositing infectious prion proteins in
    these preferred habitats. Epidemiology of CWD in the eastern U.S. is likely
    controlled by separate factors than found in the Midwestern and endemic areas
    for CWD and can assist in performing more efficient surveillance efforts for the

    Conclusions. During the pre-symptomatic stage of CWD infection and
    throughout the course of disease deer may be shedding multiple LD50 doses per
    day in their saliva. CWD prion shedding through saliva and excreta may account
    for the unprecedented spread of this prion disease in nature.

    Monday, June 23, 2014



    Tuesday, July 01, 2014



    Thursday, July 03, 2014

    *** How Chronic Wasting Disease is affecting deer population and what’s the
    risk to humans and pets? ***


    Sunday, June 29, 2014

    Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy TSE Prion Disease North America


    herd of about 50 deer jumping a fence, as easy as one, two, three…



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