The Division of Animal Industry has implemented an emergency rule requiring all elk imported into Utah come from herds that have been under a recognized Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance program for at least five years. The rule took affect March 5, 2002, and is intended to protect Utah's domestic and wild elk herds from the threat of CWD.The emergency rule is in effect for 120 days, but is intended to be made permanent.
"The United States is in the midst of an national emergency regarding CWD in elk and deer," said Dr. Mike Marshall, State Veterinarian. "Even with all that has been done to control the disease, new cases continue to show up in wild elk and deer in other states. This has caused us to take a hard look at our present elk import regulations and to implement an emergency CWD elk rule."
Currently CWD is present in the wild in the states of: Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. Utah has never had a case of CWD in either wild or domestic elk.
The new rule requires that anyone shipping elk into Utah must first document that the animal originated from a state that has a CWD monitoring and eradication program that has been in operation for at least five years. Because of the long incubation periods for this disease, the surveillance program must be in existence for an extended period of time as well.