Chronic Wasting Disease Debate

Chronic wasting disease affects deer, elk and moose. CWD is a cousin to Mad Cow. It turns animal's brains into Swiss cheese. Always fatal, the animals literally waste away. Staff at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recommends an immediate ban on importing deer from other states.

Major Curtis Brown says, "We don't have it here in Florida, we don't want CWD in Florida."

On one side of the debate are about a hundred hunting preserves; on the other, the National Rifle Association.

"Hunting, you get Chronic Wasting Disease in this state, who's going to want to eat a deer if you don't know whether or not it has Chronic Wasting Disease?" said Marion Hammer.

Fearing the ban, deer farmers imported about 450 head of deer last month. That’s as many deer brought into the state in any average year.

There are basically two ways the disease could get to Florida, the migration of a wild deer or the importation of a farm raised deer.

Alabama to the west and Georgia to the north have banned imported deer for more than a decade that makes it unlikely the disease could show up here via migration.

"This disease is spreading, it's now prevalent in 22 states. We're the only southeastern state that allows importation of deer," stated Brown.

If the ban is approved, the deer that are already here could stay but no more could be brought in.

There is no evidence that Chronic Wasting Disease can be transmitted to humans.