CHARLESTON, W.Va. – On Wednesday, December 4, 2019, West
Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt testified before the U.S.
Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works as the key expert witness
on the current status of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), as well as the
captive cervid industry. The U.S. Senate is exploring potential legislation
to establish a Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force to further study the issue.
partners together to study how prion-based diseases affect domesticated
livestock can only be beneficial to U.S. Agriculture. Understanding how these
diseases migrate will further help us contain and cure the diseases,” said
Commissioner Leonhardt. “This is not just an issue isolated to cervids but to
all livestock. We hope Congress will take this matter seriously.”
Leonhardt had five minutes to present a brief overview to the Committee on
Environment and Public followed by an additional five minutes for questions.
Commissioner Leonhardt and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA)
submitted a full report to the committee as part of the testimony. During his
allotted time, Commissioner Leonhardt asked Congress to put forth a
coordinated effort to tackle prion research for all domesticated livestock.
“The WVDA and the
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources have done a great job taking the
necessary precautions to contain the spread of CWD in our state. Despite our
efforts, we still understand very little about the disease. It is time we put
more resources towards a solution,” Leonhardt said.
Disease was first found in West Virginia in 2005. Currently, seven counties
(Grant, Mineral, Hardy, Hampshire, Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson) are under
a CWD Containment Area. The disease has not been found in any captive cervid
Leonhardt’s comments click here
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