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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

     Here is an issue that I KNOW is of great interest to a number of 
     Enviro-Mich folks, but one which we have not seen discussed here much.
     Below is a DNR press release confirming detection of bovine TB in a 
     deer OUTSIDE the quarantine area in the Northeastern lower Michigan. A 
     week ago MDA Director Dan Wyant announced postponement of signing a 
     Memorandum of Understanding with USDA regarding the TB issue prompted 
     by the detection of at least one infected deer outside the quarantine 
     There are numerous caveats offered about how, with testing here at an 
     unprecedented level, the detection may be more a factor of enhanced 
     testing as opposed to spreading infections.  Nonetheless, this issue 
     raises very important questions about HOW Michigan deals with a 
     controversial resource issue like this where there is tremendous 
     pressure from some interest groups not to change policies that they 
     like.  Despite the mandate to do scientific management, the policies 
     seem to reflect the political strengths as opposed to science.
     Michigan is one of the few (perhaps even the only?) state which allows 
     baiting of deer anymore, and deer feeding is a much bigger deal here 
     than almost anywhere else.  But as the bovine TB issue began to 
     emerge, it took a few years for the regulations to control baiting and 
     feeding in a portion of the state to be put into place.  One question 
     that nags at me, since the vector for transport of this very 
     problematic disease has been pretty well established, is why hasn't 
     the policy become prophylactic in nature -- ie, why isn't the state 
     banning feeding or setting a course for such a ban everywhere in the 
     lower peninsula?  Other questions include: is the ultimate strategy 
     containment, or is it extermination?  Are the policies being 
     considered now permanent attempts to resolve the problem, or are they 
     interim ones that in the back of the minds of some folks will be 
     eliminated when the issue dies down?  And how does this all interact 
     with the other part of the problem (besides proximity of deer noses to 
     each other) which is continuing overpopulation of deer in Michigan?
     At the March joint meeting of the Natural Resources Commission and the 
     Agriculture Commission this issue will be the primary focus of their 
     discussions.  I am curious what thoughts are lurking out there in 
     Enviro-Mich land on this issue.
     Anne Woiwode
______________________________ Forward Header __________________________________
Subject: .REVISED.. 
Date:    1/14/00 12:00 PM
CONTACT: Tim Roby, 517-373-1214
LANSING--A wild deer from Antrim County has been determined 
by the Michigan Department of Community Health Laboratory to 
be culture positive for bovine tuberculosis, Michigan 
Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Veterinarian Dr. 
Stephen Schmitt said today. This is the first wild deer to be 
found positive for the disease outside of the Movement 
Restriction Zone, the area in Northeastern Michigan bounded 
by I-75, M-55 and Lake Huron.
"The finding of a positive deer outside this area does not 
necessarily mean that the disease has recently spread," Dr. 
Schmitt said. "It is more likely that cases that already 
existed in other areas of the state have been detected due 
to the greatly increased surveillance that occurred during 
In response to finding a TB-positive deer in Antrim County, 
even greater surveillance in a 5-mile and a 25-mile radius 
around the positive deer will be implemented by the DNR with 
the continued assistance of hunters and others. In addition, 
surveillance for tuberculosis in wild deer will also be 
increased statewide for the year 2000.
The test result on the Antrim County deer was not a 
surprise, according to Michigan State Veterinarian Dr. Mike 
"The TB-positive results on the Antrim deer have been 
anticipated and will cause no immediate change in either the 
bovine TB testing program or quarantine in Northeast 
Michigan," Dr. Chaddock said. "In Northwest Michigan, our 
staff has already begun identifying all cattle, bison, goats, 
livestock and captive deer and elk within a 10-mile radius of 
the Antrim County deer. We will continue to work with the 
livestock industry to provide information and whole-herd 
testing in that area, to assess whether the deer finding has 
parallels in the livestock."
Test results of two additional TB-suspect deer in Mecosta 
and Osceola counties are expected in the next few weeks. The 
US Department of Agriculture is planning to review 
Michigan's bovine TB program in February. Information from 
that review will be the basis for determining any change in 
Michigan's bovine TB status.
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