Controversial Whitetail Hunting Legislation Concerning Genetically Enhanced Deer Leaves Future Uncertain

February 26, 2011 (PRLEAP.COM) Sports News
JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI Mississippi's state Senate Bill 2530, which would have permitted genetically enhanced deer breeding farms in Mississippi, was shot down at the capitol building on Jan. 25. The bill would have allowed the import and export of farm-raised whitetail deer, its semen, ova and embryos, according to Whitetail Hunting News.

Even though the vote was 28 to 22 in favor of the bill, the measure needed 30 votes to pass. While Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Alabama already employ this practice, the Mississippi Wildlife Federation opposes deer breeding farms for fear of the possible impact it could have on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

"The whitetail hunting sportsman is becoming increasingly worried about CWD and what it means to the deer populations and repercussions of the genetic tinkering. The simple joys of hunting in the wide open outdoors, are now being affected by the results in a test tube," says Ty Turner, Curator at Whitetailhuntingnews.com.

A transmissible spongiform encephalopathy known to affect whitetailed deer, black-tailed deer and mule deer, CWD is a fatal, degenerative brain wasting disease similar to Mad Cow disease. Clinical signs of CWD include emaciation, excessive salivation and behavioral changes. The disease was first detected in Colorado in 1967, and since then, it has spread to 13 other states, including Oklahoma and New Mexico.

While many opposed the bill, others praised it, saying the practice would bring millions in funds to the state each year. According to Senator Thomas Gollott (RMS), Senate Bill 2530 would have allowed small farms to have enclosures where they could raise the deer, sell them, and buy them from outside the state of Mississippi.

The state of Texas, which allows Whitetail deer breeding, has not had any reported cases of CWD to date. Under the direction of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), breeders of Texas whitetail deer must participate in a CWD monitoring program.

With SB 2530 narrowly missing approval in the Mississippi Senate, many Whitetail deer hunting sports enthusiasts believe it's only a matter of time before another similar bill is put before this and other legislatures. Until then, Whitetail Hunting News will continue to monitor the situation.