The state Natural Resources Board has approved permanent rules that clarify fencing requirements for deer farms. The move allows deer farms to opt out of Chronic Wasting Disease monitoring programs, while still being able to keep deer contained in an area with a single fence.
Board member Dr. Fred Prehn said those farms still need to be careful though. “These game farms realize this is still on our radar screen, whether you’re a hobbyist or a full-fledged farm,” he said during an NRB meeting in Ashland.
Before an emergency rule was adopted, farms that weren’t doing monitoring had to have double or solid fencing installed around their herds. The rule was prompted by concerns that smaller operations may just release deer, instead of having to cover the extra expenses. Farms that don’t do regular checks for CWD will be unable to export live deer off of their property.
Deer farms have been the focus of criticism from environmental groups, who worry they may be playing a role in the spread of CWD in the state. Those worries prompted the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation earlier this year to call for stricter regulations of the operations, including more testing and mandatory double-fencing.