Letters, Sept. 6

Sep 06, 2013

Elk importation poses Chronic Wasting Disease risk

To the editor,

I am a resident of Florida, a conservative, and a landowner in Western North Carolina.

I was contacted recently by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to complete a survey on the possibility of importing/restocking the elk population in the region.

I wanted to make you aware of the survey and the potential danger of an always-fatal condition known at Chronic Wasting Disease (disease) found in elk, deer, and other members of the Cervidea family.

CWD belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The specific cause of the disease is believed to be an abnormal prion (protein infectious particle) that is found in the brain, central nervous system and some lymphoid tissues of infected animals. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a rare, fatal, neurological disease found in the deer family (Cervides).

It is a transmissible disease that slowly attacks the brain of infected deer, causing the animals to progressively become emaciated, display abnormal behavior and will result in the death of the infected animal.

In researching this disease I believe the potential for it spreading outweighs the benefits of bringing animals into an area that has not been observed or determined to have been infected. In fact, no known test to determine if an animal has the disease exists.

Although existing elk and deer populations in Western North Carolina can simply migrate across state lines, importing them has the potential to infect existing herds of cervides in the surrounding areas.

Because there is no test for the disease, how would you know that you have not brought in an animal that could infect the whole cervidea family? I believe the risk outweighs the benefits.

It is my opinion that North Carolina should not bring in foreign, or domestic, animals that could possibly threaten the native wildlife. As a conservative I support the conservation of wildlife populations and want to see with numbers increase, I believe it is not wise to import a possibly infected animal into an area that has not been sown to have this disease.

While it has not been determined that this disease can be spread to humans, the potential is there due to the ingesting of infected meat. I hope you will make your readers aware of the dangers of Chronic Wasting Disease.

Michael Jones

Columnist was off-base on education investment

To the editor,

I found John Hood’s column in Friday’s paper that praises the North Carolina legislature’s investment in education to be both deceitful and offensive, and for brevities sake, I will only give one example of each.

The entire column, however, was filled with both.

First, to legitimize the abysmal expenditure rate per pupil of North  Carolina, he had to turn North Carolina into a foreign country. Simultaneously, he kept all other states in the union that spend more than North Carolina in rate per pupil as states and not turn them  into countries.

He forgot to mention how poorly North Carolina ranks on that list, and thus, improves our ranking by comparisons to third-world countries such as Somalia and Afghanistan.

This man’s twisted logic is teetering toward insanity, not merely deceitfulness.

Secondly, I found it offensive when Mr. Hood suggested that we take that abysmal rate of expenditure per pupil and try to figure how to produce more valuable human capital from it.

I was under the impression that children went to school, not “human capital.”

Anyone who dehumanizes children to this extent should be completely ignored in regards to education policy. Education is for the betterment of society, not merely for the betterment of business.

The children of North Carolina deserve to be viewed by our leaders, not has “human capital,” but as human beings.

Jason Woodard

Waynesville

Comments (1)
Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Sep 08, 2013 10:43

   Dear editor; 

  There is a a comprehensive study of chronic wasting desease here:

  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/10/6/03-1082_article.htm#riskfortransmissiontohumans:

    Conclusion is:

     "The lack of evidence of a link between CWD transmission and unusual cases of CJD, despite several epidemiologic investigations, and the absence of an increase in CJD incidence in Colorado and Wyoming suggest that the risk, if any, of transmission of CWD to humans is low."

The recommendations are:

 "Hunters should avoid eating meat from deer and elk that look sick or test positive for CWD. They should wear gloves when field-dressing carcasses, bone-out the meat from the animal, and minimize handling of brain and spinal cord tissues. As a precaution, hunters should avoid eating deer and elk tissues known to harbor the CWD agent (e.g., brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes) from areas where CWD has been identified."

       As the study points out this desease is confined to an area of the western US containing Colorado and Wyoming.

       It also points out that there have been several cases of wasting desease in humans not exposed to meat from an infected area.

        As a non-conservative, informed conservationalist who used cross-breeding to strengthen my cattle and pig herds, I recognize that the threat from inbreeding to the overall health of the herd is far greater than any threat from Wasting Desease confined to a specific area far away, and that no threat to humans exists except those naturally susceptable anyway, I fully support the importation of Elk from areas not affected, and quite-well trust that the people from the government agencies overseeing OUR Elk, will act responsably. They are OUR friends and neighbors after all.

 

          Chuck Zimmerman

         



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