New poll finds overwhelming support for better CWD management
In a new poll of 800 random voters from across the U.S., an overwhelming majority support better management of chronic wasting disease through additional federal investments.
Across hunters and non-hunters, 94 percent said that the presence of wildlife was important to their quality of life, and 92 percent believe wildlife is important to their state’s economy.
When it comes to CWD, the always-fatal neurodegenerative wildlife disease that affects members of the deer family, 88 percent of Americans polled support additional federal investment in CWD management at the state level. In total, 96 percent of respondents support their states taking action to curb the spread of CWD across the landscape.
The poll was conducted by New Bridge Strategy on behalf of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and National Deer Association. Both organizations have been working for years to educate the public about the impacts of chronic wasting disease on deer, give hunters the tools to prevent CWD transmission, and alert lawmakers to the fact that the rampant spread of CWD threatens the future of wild deer and deer hunting in North America.
“This important survey confirmed what we suspected about people’s concern about the importance of managing chronic wasting disease with 96% indicating it is extremely important,” says Torin Miller, director of policy at the NDA. “The need to support our state and federal wildlife agencies with the resources they need to make a tangible impact on slowing the spread of this 100% fatal disease couldn’t be clearer, and we’re calling on decision makers at all levels to take action.”
Currently, the federal government sends $10 million in annual funding to state and Tribal agencies for CWD management through cooperative agreements with the USDA and invests $2 million annually in CWD research at the National Wildlife Research Center. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come close to addressing the urgent need on the landscape.
The CWD Research and Management Act, if passed by the Senate this year, would increase the overall federal investment to $70 million annually through fiscal year 2028 and evenly split this funding between CWD management and research priorities.
“Increasing these oversubscribed funds is the most immediate way that Congress can impact CWD’s spread on the landscape,” says Andrew Earl, TRCP’s director of government relations. “But the Biden Administration should also look at these poll findings and realize that it is time to examine and reform the existing Herd Certification Program for captive deer operations. Participation in the voluntary HCP continues to slide, and the disease is being detected more and more often at certified facilities. Without action, the problem’s scope and cost of associated solutions will only increase.”
The new poll showed extremely strong support for holding the captive deer industry accountable: 93 percent of Americans support increasing the disease detection standards required of captive cervid operations if they are to be accredited as “low-risk” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and 90 percent support limiting the movement of live, captive deer between facilities to lower the possibility of disease spread.
Learn more about chronic wasting disease and the poll by visiting TRCP’s new online resource for all things CWD.