Joint Public Hearing on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Joint Public Hearing of the

Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Game and Fisheries Committees

on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Wednesday, April 13, 2022 | 9:00 a.m.

Hearing Room 1, NOB

Agenda

Joint Public Hearing on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Schedule

9:00 a.m.

Opening Remarks

  • Senator Laughlin, Majority Chair, Game & Fisheries
  • Senator Vogel, Majority Chair, Agriculture & Rural Affairs
  • Senator Brewster, Minority Chair, Game & Fisheries
  • Senator Schwank, Minority Chair, Agriculture & Rural Affairs

9:10 a.m.

Dr. Erick Gagne, Assistant Professor of Wildlife Disease Ecology
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Wildlife Futures Program

Dr. Michelle Gibison, Manager of Research Projects
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Wildlife Futures Program

Testimony

9:40 a.m.

Dr. Richard Roush, Dean
College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State University

Calvin Norman, Forestry and Wildlife Extension Educator
Penn State Extension

Testimony

10:10 a.m.

Darell Rowledge, Director – Testimony
Alliance for Public Wildlife

10:40 a.m.

Closing Remarks and Adjournment

Joint Hearing Receives Testimony About Chronic Wasting Disease

BEDFORD – A joint hearing about Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was held in Bedford, PA, on Wednesday, Feb.9 by the Senate’s Game and Fisheries and Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees, according to committee chairs Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-49, and Sen. Elder Vogel, R-47.

Since first being detected in Pennsylvania deer roughly a decade ago, CWD has spread to all or part of 27 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

The neurological disease affects members of the cervid family (deer, elk, moose, and reindeer/caribou). The abnormal proteins that cause CWD are shed in saliva, urine, and feces, meaning animals can be infected via animal-to-animal contact or through contaminated environments. CWD-infected animals might not show symptoms of the disease for 18 to 24 months, but all white-tailed deer and elk that contract CWD die, there are no exceptions.

The committee heard from several state officials and experts about CWD and what is currently being done to monitor and combat the expanding problem, as well as future efforts to address the disease.

Testimony was provided to the committee by Bryan Burhans, executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission; Kevin Brightbill, Pennsylvania’s state veterinarian and director of the Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services within the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; Gregory Hostetter, the deputy secretary for Animal Health and Food Safety within the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; Torin Miller, director of policy for the National Deer Association; Josh Newton, president of the Pennsylvania Deer Farmers Association; as well as other CWD experts.

Click on the following link for VIDEO of the full hearing.

The Alliance for Public Wildlife, a group of scientists and professionals whose stated goal is establishing, developing, promoting, and defending principles and policies that will ensure the conservation of North American wildlife, has produced documents examining the science behind CWD, the history and process of its spread, and the public policy implications and recommendations for dealing with it – click on the following links for the document The Challenge of CWD: Insidious and Dire, as well as a supplement to that analysis.

CONTACT:

Koty McGowan          kmcgowan@pasen.gov

Cara Laudenslager      claudenslager@pasen.gov

ADVISORY – WEDNESDAY – Joint Public Hearing on Chronic Wasting Disease

A joint hearing about Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) will be held in Bedford, PA on Wednesday, Feb.9 by the Senate’s Game and Fisheries and Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees, according to committee chairs Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-49, and Sen. Elder Vogel, R-47.

Since first being detected in Pennsylvania deer roughly a decade ago, CWD has spread to all or part of 27 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

The neurological disease affects members of the cervid family (deer, elk, moose, and reindeer/caribou). The abnormal proteins that cause CWD are shed in saliva, urine, and feces, meaning animals can be infected via animal-to-animal contact or through contaminated environments. CWD-infected animals might not show symptoms of the disease for 18 to 24 months, but all white-tailed deer and elk that contract CWD die, there are no exceptions.

Following detection of CWD, the Pennsylvania Game Commission established Disease Management Areas (DMAs) – currently there are four across the state – within which there is a prohibition of the rehabilitation of cervids (deer, elk and moose); the use or possession of cervid urine-based attractants in an outdoor setting; the removal of high-risk cervid parts; and the feeding of wild, free-ranging cervids. Additionally, increased testing continues in these areas to determine the distribution of the disease.

Managing CWD in Pennsylvania continues to be a difficult proposition and it will require a long-term commitment. A response plan was developed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in 2020 with a number of prescriptions, including the prevention of human-caused introductions of CWD into free-ranging cervid populations outside of DMAs; the quick detection of CWD infections in new areas so management strategies can be implemented at the earliest opportunity; limiting sample prevalence to ≤ 1% in adult deer and meet surveillance goals within enhanced surveillance units (ESUs); preventing the disease from becoming established or spreading farther on the landscape in containment zones (CZs); limiting sample prevalence to ≤5% in hunter-harvested adult deer within established areas (EAs); and fostering two-way communications and utilizing human dimension techniques to assess stakeholder values and opinions on Game Commission CWD management efforts.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture operates two programs – the CWD Herd Certification Program (HCP) and the CWD Herd Monitored Program (HMP) – for premises that have farmed or captive Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) susceptible species.  Participation in one of these programs is mandatory.  In either option, CWD testing is required with sampling performed by certified CWD technicians, accredited veterinarians or state/federal government officials.

The Alliance for Public Wildlife, a group of scientists and professionals whose stated goal is establishing, developing, promoting, and defending principles and policies that will ensure the conservation of North American wildlife, has produced documents (The Challenge of CWD: Insidious and Dire, as well as a supplement to that analysis) examining the science behind CWD, the history and process of its spread, and the public policy implications and recommendations for dealing with it.

The joint hearing will feature testimony from Bryan Burhans, executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission; Kevin Brightbill, Pennsylvania’s state veterinarian and director of the Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services within the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; Gregory Hostetter, the deputy secretary for Animal Health and Food Safety within the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; Torin Miller, director of policy for the National Deer Association; and Josh Newton, president of the Pennsylvania Deer Farmers Association.

WHAT: Joint public hearing of the Senate’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Game and Fisheries committees about Chronic Wasting Disease.

WHEN: 5 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 9

WHERE: Bedford American Legion, 3721 US 220 BUS, Bedford PA, 15522

HEARING LIVESTREAM:  https://www.pasenategop.com/video/liveu1/

CONTACT:               Koty McGowan          kmcgowan@pasen.gov 

Cara Laudenslager      claudenslager@pasen.gov

 

                                   

 

                                   

 

Joint Public Hearing on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Joint Public Hearing of the

Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Game and Fisheries Committees

on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Wednesday, February 9, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.

Bedford American Legion
3721 US 220 BUS
Bedford PA, 15522

or via Zoom


AGENDA

Joint Public Hearing on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Schedule

5:00 p.m.

Opening Remarks

  • Senator Laughlin, Majority Chair, Game & Fisheries
  • Senator Vogel, Majority Chair, Agriculture & Rural Affairs
  • Senator Brewster, Minority Chair, Game & Fisheries
  • Senator Schwank, Minority Chair, Agriculture & Rural Affairs

5:10 p.m.

Bryan Burhans, Executive Director – Testimony
Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC)

5:30 p.m.

Kevin Brightbill, DVM, State Veterinarian and Director
Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Gregory Hostetter, Deputy Secretary – Testimony
Animal Health and Food Safety
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

5:50 p.m.

Torin Miller, Director of Policy – Testimony
National Deer Association (NDA)

6:10 p.m.

Josh Newton, President – Testimony
Pennsylvania Deer Farmers Association (PDFA)

6:30 p.m.

Closing Remarks and Adjournment

Committee Approves Bill to Increase Penalties for Killing Bald or Golden Eagles

HARRISBURG – The Senate Game & Fisheries Committee reported to the full Senate legislation that seeks to increase the minimum fine and raises the penalty for killing or unlawfully taking a bald or golden eagle in Pennsylvania, according to Committee Chairman Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49).

Sponsored by Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-18), Senate Bill 337, would increase the fine from $200 to $2,000 in each instance of someone killing an eagle. The Federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act would continue to apply, with any punishment pursuant to Senate Bill 337 imposed in addition to existing state and federal penalties. This change is consistent with a rulemaking adopted by the PA Game Commission last fall. The bill also increases the grading of an offense for killing or unlawfully taking an eagle.

According to Sen. Boscola, while regulations and protective efforts have proved to be successful for the eagle population’s rebound in recent decades, and they have officially been removed from the Commonwealth’s threatened species list, they still need to be further protected from unlawful takings.

Contact: Matt Azeles mazeles@pasen.gov

 

Senate Game and Fisheries Committee Unanimously Approves Bill to Create a Volunteer Instructor License

HARRISBURG – The Senate Games and Fisheries Committee this week (October 19) voted unanimously seeking to create a “Volunteer Instructor License,” according to Committee Chairman Senator Dan Laughlin (R-49).

House Bill 1122 would provide for a discounted general hunting license for Hunter Trapper Education (HTE) Instructors, who are charged with educating the next generation of Pennsylvania hunters regarding rules, regulations, and above all, safety.

According to bill sponsor state Representative Keith Gillespie (R-74), the Pennsylvania Game Commission relies solely on volunteer service for HTE instructors, but it continues to be difficult recruiting volunteers and retaining them over an extended period of time.

Annually, approximately 2,400 HTE instructors log more than 35,000 hours, and over 41,000 students are certified through the program.

House Bill 1122 seeks to recognize the time and effort these volunteer instructors dedicate each year to the sport, as well as invest in the future of the HTE program.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Contact: Matt Azeles mazeles@pasen.gov

Senate Game & Fisheries Committee Approves Three Bills

The Senate Game & Fisheries Committee approved three bills today (June 16), according to Committee Chairman Senator Dan Laughlin (R-49).

Senate Bill 272, introduced by Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33), provides for free fishing licenses for 100 percent disabled first responders residing in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 318, introduced by Senator Mario Scavello (R-40), adds falconry to the list of exemptions for Sunday hunting.

Senate Bill 607, introduced by Senator Laughlin, removes the Sunday hunting and trapping prohibition.

The bills now go to the full Senate for consideration. Click for video of the meeting.

Contact:         Matt Azeles                 mazeles@pasen.gov                          

Senate Game & Fisheries Committee to Consider Three Bills on Wednesday

The Senate Game & Fisheries Committee will consider three bills at its meeting set for 10 a.m., Wednesday (June 16) in the Senate Chamber, according to Committee Chairman Senator Dan Laughlin (R-49).

Senate Bill 272, introduced by Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33), provides for free fishing licenses for 100 percent disabled first responders residing in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 318, introduced by Senator Mario Scavello (R-40), adds falconry to the list of exemptions for Sunday hunting.

Senate Bill 607, introduced by Senator Laughlin, removes the Sunday hunting and trapping prohibition.

The meeting will be livestreamed on Senator Laughlin’s website: https://www.senatorlaughlin.com/.

 

Contact:         Matt Azeles                 mazeles@pasen.gov                          

Committee Approves Measure to Update Antlerless Hunting License Sales

The Senate Game & Fisheries Committee today (May 24) approved a measure to modernize the sales of antlerless deer licenses. according to Committee Chairman Senator Dan Laughlin (R-49).

Senate Bill 431, introduced by Senator Laughlin, provides for the sale of antlerless deer hunting licenses through the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Pennsylvania Automated Licensing System.

“This bill takes advantage of current technology to make the system more convenient for Pennsylvania’s hunters,” said Senator Laughlin. “Currently, hunters apply for antlerless deer licenses by sending an application to a county treasurer or similar applications in a timely manner. Because of recent updates to the Automated Licensing System, hunters can have access to a more convenient and efficient way of applying for and receiving hunting licenses.”

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Click here for video of the Game & Fisheries Committee meeting.

Click here for audio of Senator Laughlin’s comments on his bill.

Contact:           Matt Azeles                 mazeles@pasen.gov   (717) 787-8927