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From: TSS ()
Date: July 19, 2006 at 4:27 pm PST

Elk carcasses investigated
Texas game wardens and the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office are asking the public for information on their investigation into the illegal dumping of elk carcasses off County Road 2311 near Tours sometime around July 11.

Carcasses of eight cow elk and one young bull elk were discovered at the site; none had bullet wounds or other obvious injuries, according to the parks and wildlife department. A witness has provided a partial description of a vehicle and trailer seen at the location July 11.

Blood and tissue samples were taken by a veterinarian representing the U.S. Agriculture Department and Texas Animal Health Commission.

Wildlife officials are concerned about the possible illegal transport of the animals and the potential for introduction of disease, including Chronic Wasting Disease. To date, no evidence of Chronic Wasting Disease has been detected in Texas.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Operation Game Thief reward hotline at 800-792-4263. Callers may remain anonymous and are eligible for rewards up to $1,000 upon conviction of the violator.

Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC)

Recommendations for Disposing of Taxidermy

and Processing Waste from Deer

In recent years, concerns have increased about the possibility of moving disease from one

state to another via deer and elk carcasses, or taxidermy specimens. The U.S., for instance,

strictly regulates the import of African taxidermy specimens, due to the presence of foot-andmouth

disease (FMD) in Africa. For this same reason, game meat from Africa cannot be


Although the U.S. has not seen FMD since 1929, a number of domestic diseases are known

to affect game animals. Bovine tuberculosis, or cattle TB, (Mycobacterium bovis) affects

some deer and elk in parts of Michigan and could be transported to another site in a carcass.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), though not known to be a human health threat,

causes worry among states. Moving a CWD-affected carcass -- and particularly lymph

nodes, the brain and the spinal cord -- could potentially create environmental contamination

that may infect deer in another area. This situation recently rose to the forefront in New

York, when the state’s first known CWD-infected animal was a white-tailed deer doe owned

by a taxidermist. The investigation in New York now indicates that taxidermy specimens

from other states were not involved.

While tanned hides and capes create very low risk for disease transmission, “green” hides

and material trimmed from the cape and skull (including brain material) pose a higher risk.

Proper disposal of all waste material is essential to prevent potential disease transmission.

Some accepted means of disposal include:

�� Incinerating organic waste material in an approved incinerator, not by open

burning, even in a pit. Open burning usually violates clean air statutes.

�� Burying organic waste material under at least 6 feet of soil. Dumping the

waste material on open ground is not acceptable, as it makes waste

material available to scavengers, such as feral pigs, coyotes, vultures, deer or

other game animals.

�� Placing organic waste material in a legal land fill. Always obtain permission

from the land fill operator. These sites are acceptable, as the waste should be

covered that day.

Using acceptable disposal methods reduces the risk of disease and helps to protect Texas’

wildlife, hunting, and associated industries for future generations.



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