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Meetings Set to Discuss Draft Rule Amendment Related to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

The FWC is seeking feedback on a draft rule amendment, which if passed, would prohibit importing or possessing carcasses or certain parts therefrom of all members of the deer family originating from outside of Florida. This rule amendment is being proposed to reduce the risk of chronic wasting disease (CWD) being introduced into or spread throughout Florida. You are invited to provide feedback by attending one of FWC’s public meetings listed below. Or you can provide your thoughts using the online commenting tool. Learn more about CWD and the draft rule amendment by reviewing the FAQs below or this presentation

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The following public meetings will be held from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. local time at these dates and locations:

March 2 – Palm Beach Gardens

Embassy Suites, 4350 PGA Blvd. 33410

March 3 – Winter Haven

Polk State College Center for Public Safety, CPS Rm. 269, 1251 Jim Keene Blvd. 33880

March 4 – Melbourne

Brevard Zoo Lodge, 8225 N. Wickham Rd. 32940

March 9 – Orange Park

Hampton Inn, 141 Park Ave. 32073

March 10 – Ocala

Hilton, 3600 S.W. 36th Ave. 34474

POSTPONED: March 23 – Milton

POSTPONED: March 24 – Panama City

POSTPONED: March 25 – Tallahassee

Frequently Asked Questions

Moving infected carcasses is one of the known risks for introducing CWD prions to new areas. CWD can be transmitted through direct animal-to animal-contact as well as through contact with the saliva, urine, feces, blood and carcass parts of an infected animal. It can even spread through soil that has been contaminated with carcasses or any of the above fluids. Leaving CWD infected carcasses or carcass parts on the land can contaminate the soil as they decay, and the CWD prions can remain infective for years. Higher concentrations of deer increase the likelihood of disease transmission.

To reduce that risk, the FWC is proposing a draft rule amendment to prohibit importing or possessing carcasses or certain carcass parts from any species in the deer family (such as deer, elk, moose, caribou) originating outside of Florida.  Exceptions to this draft rule amendment include white-tailed deer harvested from properties in Georgia or Alabama if such property is bisected by the Florida state line and is under the same ownership. In addition, people could import into Florida de-boned meat; finished taxidermy mounts; antlers; and hides, skulls, skull caps, and teeth IF all soft tissue has been removed. The purpose of the proposed rule amendment would be to minimize the risk of chronic wasting disease (CWD) being introduced into or spread throughout Florida.

The FWC has been testing deer for CWD since 2002, and the disease has not been detected in Florida.

CWD is one of the most serious wildlife diseases facing state wildlife agencies such as the FWC. Computer modeling suggests CWD could substantially reduce infected deer populations.
 
Vaccines to prevent CWD have been ineffective and there is no known cure for prion diseases. Preventing CWD from spreading into Florida is critical. Once CWD has been established, it is difficult to control the spread of CWD and virtually impossible to eradicate. 
 
Moving infected carcasses is one of the known risks for introducing CWD prions to new areas. To reduce that risk, the FWC is proposing a draft rule amendment to prohibit importing or possessing carcasses or certain carcass parts from any species in the deer family (such as deer, elk, moose, caribou) originating outside of Florida. Exceptions to this draft rule amendment include white-tailed deer harvested from properties in Georgia or Alabama if such property is bisected by the Florida state line and is under the same ownership. In addition, people could import into Florida de-boned meat; finished taxidermy mounts; antlers; and hides, skulls, skull caps, and teeth IF all soft tissue has been removed. The purpose of the proposed rule amendment would be to minimize the risk of chronic wasting disease (CWD) being introduced into or spread throughout Florida.

 

Executive Order 19-41, which took effect Nov. 1, 2019,  prohibits importing or possessing carcasses and parts thereof from deer, elk, moose, caribou and all other members of the deer family originating from any place outside of Florida except for de-boned meat; finished taxidermy mounts; antlers; and hides, skulls, skull caps, and teeth if all soft tissue has been removed.

The executive order allows exceptions for legally harvested white-tailed deer originating from Georgia or Alabama provided the person possesses an FWC Georgia/Alabama Carcass Importation Permit prior to the carcass being imported into Florida; reports the carcass importation within 24 hours of entering Florida using the FWC’s online Georgia/Alabama Carcass Importation Reporting Form; and disposes of any remains using FWC-approved deer carcass disposal options.

White-tailed deer legally harvested from Georgia or Alabama properties that are bisected by the Florida state line and under the same ownership are exempt from the importation permit, reporting and disposal requirements.