Regulatory Authority of Deer and Elk Farms
The following is a web version of the correspondence letter; a printable PDF Version (187 KB) is also available to view.
May 14, 2012
Honorable Mark Grisanti
New York State Senate
902 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
RE: Memorandum of opposition to:
S5767 - Grants the Department of Agriculture and Markets the exclusive authority to regulate cervid (deer and elk) farms
Dear Senator Grisanti:
This letter is to inform you that the Conservation Fund Advisory Board (CFAB) opposes senate bill S5767. As you know, the DEC is responsible for managing the wild white-tailed deer population of the state. The Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) is responsible for managing cervids (deer and elk) on farms. These are two very different and distinct areas of responsibility. The deer held on farms are owned by the farmer as private individuals and the wild deer, existing in the wild throughout the state, belong to the people of the State of New York. The wild white-tailed deer population is estimated to be between 800,000 and 900,000 animals. However, deer and elk held on farms pose a direct disease threat to the wild deer population (i.e. Chronic Wasting Disease and Bovine Tuberculosis).
At present, DEC only requires people who have captive white-tailed deer farms to have a license from DEC. The DEC regulates captive white-tailed deer farms to prevent such farms from engaging in activities that would result in disease spreading from deer farm to wild deer and from engaging in illegal activities, such as taking wild white-tailed deer to restock their farms or to sell as meat. DEC requires different reports from captive white-tailed deer farms than those reports required by the DAM. The purpose of DEC's reports and license requirements are to protect the state's wild white-tailed deer herd by providing DEC with records to trace deer movement from farm to farm in the event of a disease outbreak. The DEC and the DAM have effectively collaborated to regulate cervid farms in New York, with one agency ensuring the health of cervids on a farm and one agency ensuring the welfare of the wild deer population. This approach retains the proper lines for authority between the two agencies, is successful and serves the interest of both farmers and hunters.