Mad Deer Outbreak Leads
To Demands For Captive Elk Slaughter

By Mike McKibbin
The Daily Sentinel Grand Junction - CO

"Researchers suspect the disease may be transmitted by nose-to-nose contact between animals."
CRAIG - A Colorado conservation group is threatening legal action to force the slaughter of captive elk on the Motherwell Ranch where four wild deer trapped inside were found to have chronic wasting disease.
Six wild deer in the area surrounding the ranch also tested positive for the fatal brain disease in the first cases found west of the Continental Divide.
State and federal officials want to slaughter the 103 captive elk within the 1,800-acre ranch to help contain the disease, but owner Wes Adams has refused to take a monetary settlement.
"We do not frequently take legal action," said Colorado Wildlife Federation Chairwoman Suzanne O'Neill. "But when we believe we must, we do."
O'Neill was also named to Gov. Bill Owens' task force on chronic wasting disease last month.
O'Neill said negotiations between Adams and the state and federal agriculture departments have reached an impasse. Adams was unavailable for comment late Wednesday.
Decisions regarding Chronic Wasting Disease "Need to be handled by the experts like the Division of Wildlife, not a congressman or a judge," said Congressman Scott McInnis, R, Grand Junction.
"We're trying to get money to the agencies to fight this," McInnis said.
Researchers suspect the disease may be transmitted by nose-to-nose contact between animals.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife has proposed to help pay for the materials for a seven mile electric fence to surround the existing ranch fence. However, Adams has reportedly refused to pay to build and maintain the fence.
Elk on 27 of Colorado's 129 licensed elk ranches were killed this spring after infected animals were found on a northeastern Colorado elk ranch. Some of the animals were shipped to other ranches in the state.
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