INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Kentucky's state veterinarian has temporarily banned imports of captive deer from Indiana over concerns about disease.
The Indianapolis Star reports Kentucky state veterinarian Robert Stout suspended Indiana imports after finding out the state received deer linked to outbreaks of chronic wasting disease in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Kentucky had already banned imports from those states.
“Indiana has received (deer) over the years from both Pennsylvania and Ohio herds,” Stout wrote in a memo. “Therefore, until such time that a comprehensive epidemiologic investigation is completed by both (the U.S. Department of Agriculture) and impacted states, importation into Kentucky from Indiana herds is temporarily suspended.”
The fatal disease has never been found in Indiana's wild or captive deer, but there's no approved test on live animals. Indiana has nearly 400 deer farms and four hunting preserves.
Opponents of deer imports say it wildly increases the risk of spreading disease.
Shawn Schafer, the head of the North American Deer Farmers Association, said it's not usual for states to temporarily halt imports over disease worries.
“It shows the system works and the program is working,” Schafer said.
Denise Derrer, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Board of Animal Health, said three deer were sent to the state from an Ohio facility where officials say a buck tested positive for chronic wasting disease. Tests for the Indiana deer came back negative, she said.
Commercial deer operations breed bucks for their large antlers. Hunters pay thousands of dollars to hunt them in preserves.
Indiana's House could vote next week on a bill that would allow hunting deer inside high-fence enclosures at preserves in operation before this year.
Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com