Discovering Montana

News Releases

For Immediate Release - November 11, 1998
Contact: Anastasia Burton, Press Secretary (406) 444-5523


After two months of careful consideration on issues related to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), Governor Marc Racicot has decided on a progressive approach to this serious disease. "Because of the serious threat of Chronic Wasting Disease, we have designed the most aggressive program of any state in the nation. We are doing this because we believe proactive measures are vitally important to assure the health of the people of Montana, to preclude disease threats to native wildlife, livestock, and resident game farm animals, and to protect the viability of our state’s game farms."

CWD causes weight loss and other symptoms which result in death in elk and deer. There is currently no test available for live animals.

Both the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the Department of Livestock will implement a plan which includes as a requirement for importation of game farm animals that they have:

  1. resided for 12 months on the game farm of origin;
  2. undergone CWD surveillance; and
  3. individual animal identification documented for the herd of origin. This plan also requires mandatory herd surveillance, testing within Montana, continual scientific review and quarantines.

The Montana Department of Livestock has enacted an emergency rule regarding CWD. This emergency rule will be in effect for 120 days. During this time, the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Department of Livestock will work together on long-term rules. The draft rules should be ready for release to the public for review and comment on or before November 25, 1998. After careful assessment, the permanent rules will be implemented in January, 1999.

Governor Racicot added, "Although the origin and mode of transmission of CWD is unknown, we must have in place an aggressive program because of the serious nature of this disease."


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