Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an established wildlife issue that has been detected in at least 26 states, three Canadian provinces, South Korea, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. It is essential that proactive steps are taken to limit CWD transmission among animals and to reduce human exposure to infected cervids. Fortunately, various conservation and wildlife organizations understand the challenges that CWD presents and have taken efforts to educate people about CWD and ultimately help control this disease. Learn more about some of these organizations that are involved in the fight against CWD.
The following list of organizations is provided for your convenience and use as a resource, but is not meant to be an endorsement by CIDRAP.
Alliance for Public Wildlife
The Alliance for Public Wildlife (APW) is involved with North American conservation policy. The APW views CWD as the most urgent issue facing wildlife and actively promotes policy that it feels will help control disease transmission. The organization has written comprehensive reports on CWD. APW directors continue to serve as conservation policy advisors and have provided expert testimony on CWD. Visit the APW website to learn more about its organization and perspectives on CWD policy: http://www.apwildlife.org/.
Archery Trade Association
The Archery Trade Association (ATA) promotes and supports archery and bowhunting. The ATA recognizes CWD as a threat to wildlife and the bowhunting industry, and has taken steps to help prevent its spread. The organization established the Deer Protection Program for urine-based scent products, placing an identifiable seal of approval on products whose makers choose to participate in the program. Participation involves manufacturers and suppliers abiding by self-imposed restrictions that help limit the presence of CWD in cervids producing urine for scent products. The ATA also supports a comprehensive national strategy to fight the spread of CWD by encouraging education, legislation, and research on the topic. To learn more about the ATA and what it is doing about CWD, visit its website: https://www.archerytrade.org/.
Links to some helpful ATA resources on CWD:
- ATA Deer Protection Program
- ATA: CWD a Serious Threat to Wildlife
- CWD Update: What’s Happening to Deer?
Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) provides an authoritative voice for North American agencies responsible for the management and conservation of fish and wildlife resources. Representing state, provincial, and territorial agency members, AFWA advocates for science-based policies and funding to help advance natural resource conservation. AFWA also develops and provides comprehensive information and action plans covering a variety of topics relevant to its agency members and stakeholders. For example, AFWA recently published a technical report covering best practices for CWD management. To learn more about AFWA and its initiatives, visit here: https://www.fishwildlife.org/.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) seeks to preserve the heritage of hunting and fishing by backing public land initiatives. BHA recognizes the threat that CWD poses to wildlife and conservation. State BHA chapters have shown support for science-based legislation that would help control the spread of CWD. Additionally, some BHA chapters are working alongside state wildlife agencies to provide educational workshops on CWD and to highlight steps that hunters can take to slow the disease’s spread. Visit the BHA website to learn more about the group and its efforts to combat CWD: https://www.backcountryhunters.org/.
Boone and Crockett Club
The Boone and Crockett Club promotes fair chase hunting. The Boone and Crockett Club believes that CWD is a major wildlife health issue, and it is one of the founding partners of the CWD Alliance. In addition to promoting and supporting the CWD Alliance, the organization supports CWD research and advocates for policies to help control the disease, encouraging agencies to implement the best disease management practices identified by the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. The Boone and Crockett Club has also testified on CWD at the state and national levels. Visit the Boone and Crockett Club’s website to learn more: https://www.boone-crockett.org/.
Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance
The Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Alliance was established in 2002 and has grown to become one of the key resources for CWD information around the world. The CWD Alliance is dedicated to providing scientifically valid CWD information on a wide range of topics. The CWD Alliance includes content such as FAQ, recommendations for hunters, CWD management strategies, ongoing CWD research, and much more. Through providing this information, the CWD Alliance seeks to help control the spread of CWD and subsequently limit its effect on cervids. Visit the CWD Alliance website to learn more about what it is doing to help: http://cwd-info.org/.
Links to some helpful CWD Alliance resources on CWD:
- Chronic Wasting Disease: FAQ
- CWD Overview
- CWD: The Basics
- CWD Timeline
- Hunting FAQ
- Management Strategies
- North American News and Information
- Recommendations for Hunters
- Shedding Light on Chronic Wasting Disease (Video Series)
MeatEater is an outdoor lifestyle company featuring a widely popular outdoor-themed podcast (The MeatEater Podcast), Netflix TV show (“MeatEater”), and website. MeatEater’s content encapsulates the close connections between hunting, fishing, cooking, and the outdoors. MeatEater’s founder, Steven Rinella, is an acclaimed author and host of MeatEater and The MeatEater Podcast. MeatEater contributors, including Rinella, frequently write and talk about the importance of conservation and helping people get connected to the outdoors. Their content on CWD is educational and has brought awareness to the issue. To learn more about MeatEater, visit here: https://www.themeateater.com/.
Links to some helpful MeatEater resources on CWD:
- How You Can Make an Impact on CWD Right Now
- Video: Janis Putelis Demonstrates How to Debone a Deer in a Chronic Wasting Disease Area
- Why Every Hunter Should Care About Chronic Wasting Disease
- What Hunters Can Do About Chronic Wasting Disease
- The MeatEater Podcast – Episode 70: Chronic Wasting Disease
- Wired to Hunt Podcast – Episode 196: What To Do When CWD Arrives w/ Doug Duren
Mule Deer Foundation
The Mule Deer Foundation (MDF) supports the conservation of mule deer, hunting, and wildlife habitat. The MDF is a founding partner of the CWD Alliance and actively supports initiatives that seek to control the spread of CWD. Visit its website to learn more: https://muledeer.org/.
National Deer Association
In November of 2020, the National Deer Alliance and the Quality Deer Management Association merged to form the National Deer Association (NDA). The NDA is dedicated to the conservation of all wild deer and supports the continuity of hunting. The NDA has invested in efforts to better manage CWD, backing additional funding and research on the disease. Additionally, the NDA is promoting the establishment of a unified national approach to address this issue, pushing for policies that would lead to better CWD control. The NDA intends to accomplish this by implementing an open-forum approach whereby stakeholders can come together and construct a cohesive plan. Members of the NDA have offered testimony for meetings at both state and national levels. Its website frequently has useful CWD resource to hunters. To learn more about the NDA and to stay updated on its role in combating CWD, visit: https://www.deerassociation.com/
Links to some helpful NDA resources on CWD:
- Chronic Wasting Disease in Pennsylvania: What Does the Future Hold?
- Are Deer Evolving Resistance to CWD?
- EHD and CWD: What’s the Difference?
- Every Deer Hunter Can Take These Steps to Fight CWD
- Chronic Wasting Disease
- This Map Spells Trouble for the Future of Deer Hunting
- Yes, EHD is Bad. But CWD is Worse
- Yes, CWD Kills Deer. A Mississippi Hunter Watched it Happen
National Wildlife Federation
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) supports healthy wildlife and the habitats necessary to sustain animal populations. The NWF recognizes the impact that diseases have on fish and wildlife populations and have promoted the establishment of a wildlife disease trust fund, which would support research on a variety of diseases, including CWD. In addition to its support for CWD research, the NWF encourages adequate federal aid to help state wildlife agencies manage CWD. For more information on the NWF, visit: www.nwf.org/.
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) is committed to conserving Ontario’s fish and wildlife resources alongside protecting the heritage of fishing and hunting. OFAH recognizes CWD as a threat to wildlife and the economy. It has long promoted an interdisciplinary approach to addressing CWD and controlling its spread. OFAH supports CWD research and brings awareness to the issue. In 2019, OFAH hosted a conference titled, “The Conversation on Chronic Wasting Disease,” which featured presentations by experts covering all aspects of CWD. The presentations, which can be viewed here, provide different perspectives with in-depth information on topics like lessons learned, best prevention strategies, and the future of CWD. Similar information can be found in OFAH’s CWD Conference Report. Visit OFAH’s website here: https://www.ofah.org/.
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) is dedicated to the conservation of elk and other wildlife and works to maintain their habitat and hunting traditions. The RMEF is a founding partner of the CWD Alliance and works to address this disease among wildlife. On top of directly supporting the CWD Alliance, the RMEF advocates for legislation to control the spread of CWD. To learn more about the organization, visit its website: https://www.rmef.org/.
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) creates and supports policies for American sportsmen and women. The TRCP has identified CWD as a threat to North American conservation and has played a large role in advocacy on this issue. This organization supports the restoration of adequate federal funding to aid ongoing CWD surveillance and management. Additionally, the TRCP backs improved financial support for the US Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center. On top of advocacy, the TRCP provides educational information about prions, CWD, and management strategies. For more information, visit: http://www.trcp.org/.
Link to a helpful TRCP resource on CWD: