The perils of CWD


Lee’s note: Chronic Wasting Disease scares me. As a native of the upper Midwest, I’ve seen deer that have been infected with CWD. They’re pathetic critters. They stumble. They forget to eat or drink. There’s no cure, only euthanasia.  The venison cannot be consumed and goes to waste.

Florida has the opportunity to keep our deer herds free of this horrible disease, but only if we take quick action and close the borders to the importation of captive deer, which is opposed by a handful of “deer farmers” in the state.

Marion Hammer, Executive Director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, who also represents NRA, has been spearheading a campaign to keep our deer herds clean – CWD free. USF/NRA wants the borders closed to captive deer – not only for humane reasons, but pragmatic ones. If CWD gains a foothold, the state will lose millions of dollars in hunting revenue.

Please take a minute to read President Hammer’s contribution, and contact FWC as she recommends.

There’s no argument on this one. It needs to be done.


Map courtesy Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance (


By Marion P. Hammer

Last week I gave an  interview to Margie Menzel of News Service of Florida, on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer, and the National Rifle Association’s strong support for an importation ban on captive deer from other states.  Closing Florida’s borders it is the most effective method for trying to keep CWD out of Florida .

In the interview, I said: “If we got Chronic Wasting Disease in the state of Florida, I’d never eat another piece of venison.”   That quote become the Quote of the Week for

The reason for my statement about what I would do personally, is that CWD is always fatal in deer and other cervids.  And based on what I know and believe, CWD is just like other diseases, it mutates — it changes.  The flu virus changes every year and every year scientists have to develop a new flu vaccine to match the mutation.

There is no vaccine for CWD, there is no cure, it is always fatal. It destroys the brain and nervous system.  It causes a tragic, pathetic death every time.

When Mad Cow disease was first discovered, it could not be transmitted to humans.  We were assured that since it couldn’t be transmitted to humans it was safe to eat beef that might have contracted Mad Cow disease.

Mule deer doe with CWD. Photo Courtesy of Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Mule deer doe with CWD.
Photo Courtesy of Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Then things changed because the disease had mutated.   Mad Cow disease was discovered in humans — who died horrible deaths.

The money spent by the cattle industry, the United States Government and state governments to isolate and eradicate the disease by killing herds of cattle that “might” have been exposed, was astronomical.

Yet today, the disease still exists and just last year another case of Mad Cow disease was diagnosed in a human in California.  We have no idea how many people are currently dying of Mad Cow Disease — because it doesn’t make front page news or TV news at 6 & 11.

Scientists disagree on how humans contract it.  Some say humans will only be infected if they eat nerve tissue — brains or spinal cord—of an infected animal. Scientists can agree and disagree all day long on what part of an animal you have to eat before contracting the disease, but folks, diseases mutate.  Diseases spread.  Diseases do strange things that no one expects.

Knowing what we know and don’t know about CWD, would you want to eat venison or feed venison to your family — your children or grandchildren — if we got CWD in Florida?  You can bet the farm I won’t.

Scientists, when asked if humans can get CWD, invariably say currently there is no evidence that humans can get it.  Pay attention, they say currently.  Will that change tomorrow, next week, Next month, next year? Who knows!

If you want to know what scientists think about CWD in humans, just Google “chronic wasting disease in humans” and start reading.  I did, and I assure you we need to do everything we possibly can to try to keep CWD out of Florida.  That means closing Florida’s borders ASAP.

If you want to help keep that horrible disease out of Florida, tell the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioners because they are the ones who have to make the decision.

An email to this address will go to them all:


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


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  2. Josef Hlasny on

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) and mad cow disease (BSE) can be a naturally occurring diseases, (not an infectious disease), so deer and beef meat is safe in the all world. WHY?
    The BSE was tested in dairy cows, see”nutritonal experiment” performed in England; published in Veterinary Record (MOORBY et al., 2000) and in Journal of Dairy Science (MOORBY et al., 2000; DEWHURST et al., 2000). Long-term dietary crude protein surpluss, significantly higher than the norm (NRC, 2001; if about daily 30 kg of milk production was recorded and six of the 47 animals (13 percent !!!) developed clinical signs of BSE…

    Similarly, particularly in the U.S. was encouraged to a high concentration of protein in deer feed rations. See my article; Prions are a symptom of the (metabolic) „chronic wasting disease“ and do not cause the disease ( ). From this should be cite at least the following; There are also recommendations; about the high protein intake in deer and elk rations, see these U.S. literature sources; Elk that are rapidly growing or lactating and bulls recovering from the rut have higher protein needs. To some extent, greater protein requirements can be met by increased intake. However, the percentage of protein in diets designed for these animals is usually increased as well. Maintenance rations should be at 10 – 12% crude protein, whereas rations for lactation or antler growth should provide 14 – 18% crude protein. Growing rations should contain 16 – 20% crude protein….

    According to my opinion; what is the common denominator of the neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease? It was twelve years agos ago ( March 2001), when I published an alternative theory ( BSE ammonia- magnesium theory), where the main role of NMDA receptors was described. According to this theory, the cause of BSE is an excess of protein and the magnesium deficiency, in the feed rations of ruminants. Such conditions were developed in the mid of 1980s , especially in Great Britain.
    The neurodegenerative diseases, occurred to a greater extent, only in ruminants (BSE), because only in them, magnesium is not absorbed in the intestine, but in the rumen. The excess of protein-nitrogen in the rumen decreases absorption of magnesium. Most suffer with magnesium deficiency, high yielding dairy cows, in which high milk production leads to the dysbalancy between calcium and magnesium. Prolonged magnesium deficiency leads to an excess of calcium in animal tissues, and NMDA receptor hyperfunction. From the period around 1985, new dietary standards are known in dairy cows (eg, NRC 1985…), which began recommending high concentration of protein in the feed rations of cows.
    CWD/BSE/vCJD may not be infectious diseases (according to the mice
    experiments;Alzheimer’s disease would also have to be of infectious origin),
    as it was recently pointed out (approx. 60 pages; 14 chapters from August
    2012 and a further 17 chapters from March 2013; as comments) in the „USA
    Today“ (see Appendix) ;
    As regards the transmission of infection by blood transfusion, see the
    comments on this issue in the following three chapters (from August 23,
    11. Four cases about the „convincing evidence“ that vCJD infections have
    been transmitted by blood transfusion
    12. First typical case about vCJD disease by blood transmission , as a
    “detective story”
    13. The impact of prion disorders on transfusion services throughout the
    world needs to be considered further.
    These three chapters have recently been copied and published in Serbia. So
    is mad cow disease (BSE) infectious or not? Se recently more (as a
    “detective story”);
    So BSE/vCJD may not be infectious diseases (according to the mice experiments; Alzheimer’s disease would also have to be of infectious origin). Already this will be one year, when it was pointed out that should will be open a Pandora’s box (error relating infectivity about neurodegenerative diseases) in connection with research of Alzheimer’s disease ( ).There, Neil R. Cashman, a neurologist at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver said; „These results point to amyloid-β and other neurodegenerative proteins as behaving like prions. It’s becoming a widely
    accepted idea, but it’s also opening a Pandora’s box”…

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