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The Humane Society of the United States Issues Statement on Deadly Disease Discovered in Texas Deer

The Humane Society of the United States issued a statement in response to Texas state agency reports that two mule deer have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease – a fatal, incurable disease that affects white-tailed deer, elk, and other cervids.  This is the first time the disease has been reported in Texas:

“The confirmed spread of Chronic Wasting Disease to Texas, for the first time, should be a wake-up call about the perils of the captive hunting industry.  These unsporting pay-to-play shooting operations unnaturally concentrate animals in high densities, greatly increasing the risk for disease transmission,” said Katie Jarl, Texas state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “Stocking animals behind fences to be shot for trophies is not only inhumane, but it also places our native wildlife at serious risk of this deadly disease.  The most efficient way to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease throughout the state is to tackle this problem from the front end – the captive hunts."


  • While most hunting in Texas takes place on private land, animals in captive hunts are stocked inside escape-proof fenced enclosures, allowing ranches to often offer guaranteed trophies, “100 percent success” rates, and advertise "no kill, no pay" policies.
  • Captive hunts are generally reviled by the hunting community nationwide for violating the principle of fair chase. Hunting groups such as the Boone and Crockett Club and the Pope and Young Club, which maintain trophy records for big game hunting, will not consider animals shot at captive hunts for inclusion on their record lists.
  • At more than 1,000 commercial captive hunt operations in the United States, trophy hunters pay to shoot native and exotic mammals — from zebra to endangered scimitar-horned Oryx — confined in fenced enclosures.  The HSUS estimates that approximately half of these operations are in Texas.
  • Many of the animals on these ranches have become accustomed to humans, making them easy targets for shooters.
  • Chronic Wasting Disease has been found in 19 states. In 11 of the states the disease has been found in captive populations.
  • Chronic Wasting Disease can cost taxpayers millions of dollars in response efforts – the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has spent over $35 million since 2002 fighting the disease.

Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 301-721-6463; ksanderson@humanesociety.org


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