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Chronic Wasting Disease Legislation Moves onto House Floor

Legislation aimed at fighting Chronic Wasting Disease has passed the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Finance & Policy Committee and advanced to the House Floor.

Among other things, the bill, HF 219, would create new requirements for deer farms, including the immediate notification of the DNR if the deer is not captured within 24 hours if the animal escaped. It also allows a licensed hunter to kill and possess an escaped farmed deer without being liable to the owner for the loss of the animal.

State Representative Nathan Nelson is a supporter of the bill, but he was one of a few lawmakers who took issue with how the bill required the farmed deer to be registered.

"I really believe this should have gone to the Ag committee. Sections 1 and 2 of the bill deals with farmed Cervidae (deer). These farms are licensed and inspected by the Board of Animal Health (BAH), not the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Agriculture Committee would be the appropriate place to receive testimony from the BAH," said Nelson.

Section 2 of HF 219 would require farmed deer to wear ear tags with the owner's contact information, and Nelson says the USDA and MN Department of Agriculture already has laws regarding livestock identification. To him, they have a solution looking for a problem.

Nelson said he voted against the bill in committee because it should be looked at by the Agriculture committee. However, Nelson said that he does plan on voting for the bill when comes before the house floor.

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