December 8, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) – The U.S. House of Representatives has delivered a significant victory for America’s sportsmen and women with the successful passage of H.R. 5608, the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act - one of the top wildlife conservation priorities for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF). The passage of H.R. 5608 under suspension, less than two months after the bill was introduced, demonstrates the significant level of strong bipartisan support for this critical legislation.
For years, CSF has been working to develop a coordinated and comprehensive piece of legislation to combat Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) with leading representatives from hunting conservation groups, wildlife science professionals, and vested stakeholders. After numerous strategy discussions, these efforts lead to a coordinated approach with the offices of Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Members Reps. Kind and Thompson who are championing H.R. 5608.
Specifically, the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act will help address CWD by authorizing $70 million annually from Fiscal Year 2022 to Fiscal Year 2028 to be split evenly between CWD research and management efforts. Of this, $35 million will be dedicated annually for CWD research to develop testing methods, enhance detection efforts, better understand genetic resistance, among others. The remaining $35 million will be used for the management of CWD by prioritizing funding for state and tribal wildlife agencies that have the highest incidence of CWD, are demonstrating the most significant commitments to combatting CWD, are facing the greatest risk of new CWD cases, and more.
CWD represents one of the most pressing challenges facing wildlife managers, largely due to the general lack of information related to the disease. For example, even though research suggests that CWD is transmitted directly from one animal to another through bodily fluids and issues, the exact transmission pathways remain unclear. Furthermore, the progression of the disease is extremely slow and may not result in animals becoming symptomatic for several years after infection occurs.
“CSF applauds the House for moving quickly to pass the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act – a thoughtful, bipartisan, and meaningful piece of legislation to combat one of the most pressing wildlife conservation challenges, CWD,” said CSF President and CEO Jeff Crane. “Thanks to the leadership of Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Members Reps. Kind and Thompson, the House passage of this bill marks the most significant progress a comprehensive piece of legislation to address this issue has made, and we encourage the Senate to quickly follow suit.”
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will work with the members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus in the Senate to move this legislation and send it to the President’s desk to be signed into law to provide much needed resources to our wildlife managers.