A South Carolina man has been fined $235,000 for shipping live deer from Ohio to South Carolina. The 54 whitetail deer had not been tested for Chronic Wasting Disease and Tuberculosis. Shipping them without the testing and proper tagging and documentation is a violation of the Lacey Act. This law regulates the interstate shipping of live animals. The deer were intended to be placed at a hunting preserve in South Carolina. Isn’t the term “hunting preserve” an oxymoron? Can wild animals be hunted and preserved at the same time?
Bovine tuberculosis occurs also in deer, and is generally not a threat to human health. The Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources site says bovine TB can be transmitted to humans, but it rarely happens. The disease can spread within deer populations and kill many deer.
The CDC site states that Chronic Wasting Disease does not occur in species other than deer and elk, but transmission is still possible, though very unlikely: “Although CWD does not appear to occur naturally outside the cervid family, it has been transmitted experimentally by intracerebral injection to a number of animals, including laboratory mice, ferrets, mink, squirrel monkeys, and goats.”
So transporting about 50 live deer from Ohio to South Carolina, presumably to be shot in possibly a not very sporting manner, may seem fairly benign on the surface. However, the potential for spreading diseases unwittingly is a troubling possibility.
The Lacey Act was created due to illegal commercial hunting’s negative impact on wildlife. The bill was made law in 1900, and it is still relevant in 2010.
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