Deer and elk farmers in York and across the United States could soon be asked to help the state and federal government monitor chronic wasting disease in their animals.

Saying the disease is the deer equivalent of the mad cow disease, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to adopt a rule that calls for monitoring deer and elk that cross state lines.

The USDA issued an interim rule earlier this year, but Casey wants Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to finalize the rule, under which farmers could volunteer to participate in a process similar to a registry, said John Rizzo, Casey's press secretary.

Under the rule, the state and federal agencies overseeing the disease could track farmed deer as they move back and forth across state lines to make sure infected deer aren't moving, Rizzo said.

A regulatory procedure for testing deer would be set forth, with information being collected and shared, he said.

The process of finalizing the rule could take weeks or months, but Casey is asking the USDA to begin the process now, he said.

Casey, in a letter to USDA secretary Tom Vilsack, asked that the USDA "reasonably implement the current interim final rule for the CWD Herd Certification Program as well as the interstate movement requirements, effective on Dec. 10."


He said Pennsylvania ranks second among the states for annual deer and elk farm sales, totaling $40 million per year, and the disease "threatens the deer and elk species as well as the sustainability of these industries."

Locally: Before rifle season started for deer, a 600-square-mile Disease Management Area was set up in parts of York and Adams counties after two deer at an Adams farm tested positive for CWD. One of the deer was once at a Dover Township deer farm.

Hunters in the management area must take deer killed during rifle season, Nov. 26-Dec. 8, to a checking station where it can be tested for chronic wasting disease.

The monitoring boundary bisects York County, with most areas north of Routes 116, 30, and 462 included. Deer killed in areas south of the boundary don't have to be checked.

-- Reach Christina Kauff man at