Dear Editor,

Bud Olinger’s claim Chronic Wasting Disease could have been stopped if Missouri banned deer farming as Colorado did simply is false. Colorado first detected CWD in a research facility in the 1960s and first found it in free-ranging deer in the 1980s. The disease has continued spreading throughout Colorado and into other states since; including Wyoming, which does not allow deer farming, either.

Even if you magically made deer farms disappear, which isn’t going to happen, CWD still would be in Missouri and still would continue spreading. It’d be a particularly pointless gesture when one considers that deer farms are enclosed environments for which numerous state and federal regulations exist to mitigate the risk of CWD. Deer farms are not the problem.

The Department of Conservation can help by testing more free-ranging deer for CWD so hunters have an accurate picture of where the disease is and is not; but since CWD already exists in free-ranging deer, there’s no known way of stopping its spread.

It also would be wise for the Department of Conservation to stop importing free-ranging elk into the state which do not meet the stringent import protocols as deer farmers do.


Charly Seale
American Cervid Alliance
Medina, Texas


  1. Correct, CWD is found in the wild and when the free roaming deer contracts it it dies! However when you have hundreds of deer locked within a restricted ranging area and they all feed from “shared troughs” the disease spreads throughout the herd and beyond, statistically into the neighboring area. Deer farming exacerbates the problem a hundred fold.

  2. It is still not known how CWD initially occurs. It can occur in an individual who has not been in contact with an animal that is already infected. It can also be contracted from an infected individual that shows no outward signs of infection. There are more questions than answers when dealing with prion diseases. Deer in close quarters can spread the disease more quickly, and it may take years for the infected animal to show any symptoms of infection. Hunters should be further educated of the lack of understanding about how this disease originates and is transmitted so that they have more of a healthy fear of it instead of being so cavalier about it and shrugging it off since it is so rare to occur, and even more rare for it to transmit to humans.


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