University of Minnesota Research Team Achieves CWD Testing Milestone

The Minnesota Elk Breeders Association is excited about the great work the University of Minnesota is doing to develop better, faster testing methods to help combat Chronic Wasting Disease. They have just announced a great achievement in future development of “next generation” testing methods. See below!

University of Minnesota Research Team Achieves CWD Testing Milestone

Next Generation CWD Diagnostic Tests

The Minnesota Elk Breeders Association is proud to help support CWD Conversations and CWD Watch in conjunction with the University of Minnesota, Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

We are especially excited to support the work of the University of Minnesota to develop new and improved tests for diagnosing CWD.  See more at Next-Gen CWD Diagnostic Tests.   

Minnesota Elk Breeders Association CWD Position Statement

Minnesota farmed elk are highly regulated and stringently monitored for CWD

As Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been in the media and part of many discussions at the Minnesota State Capitol over the past several months, the Minnesota Elk Breeders Association has created a Position Statement regarding CWD. 

Highlights include:

  • Highly regulated industry
  • Cervid operations are NOT the CWD risk vector
  • Cervid farms are the key to finding a cure
  • Several important measures are necessary to slow down the threat of CWD to Minnesota farmed cervids and wild deer


Read more… Minnesota Elk Breeders Association CWD Position Paper



CWD Testing Statistics in Minnesota

Chronic Wasting Disease Statistics Study Suggests Minnesota Does Not Sufficiently Test Free-Ranging Deer

Howard Lake, MN- A new study reviewing Chronic Wasting Disease sampling in Minnesota reveals possible gaps in understanding where CWD exists in free-ranging deer in Minnesota. The Elk Research Foundation (also known as the Elk Research Council) reported its findings in a study entitled, “Report on CWD Surveillance and Outcomes in Free-Ranging and Farmed Cervids in Minnesota.” This study analyzed CWD sampling data performed in free-ranging and farmed cervid herds in Minnesota from 2014-2016.

The study concluded that, “Overall, we have a greater than 99.9% confidence in every year that the prevalence of CWD in the farmed cervid populations was 1% or less, based on testing results.” The same could not be said of the free-ranging test data.

Read More… CWD Testing Statistics in Minnesota

Chronic Wasting Disease in Minnesota

Farmed elk and deer are arguably, the most regulated livestock in Minnesota.  With every new case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the industry is pointed to as being the cause.  

There are so many other considerations to the threat of CWD in Minnesota, the least of which is the already heavily regulated farmed cervid industry.

Epidemiology reports from the latest two cases of CWD in farmed deer point to taxidermy waste stream and a rubbish (bone) pile as being potential vectors of the disease to the farms.   These issues ultimately stem from movement of CWD infected hunter harvested carcasses which have been transported into Minnesota ending up at the taxidermist, a bone pile or any number of places where a carcass could be disposed of.

See below for a position statement about CWD from the association as well as statistical evidence of how much testing the industry is conducting compared to wild deer surveillance in Minnesota.

Minnesota Elk Breeders Association CWD Position Statement
CWD Testing Statistics in Minnesota

UMN Vet Students Learn More About Elk

A big shout out to the UMN Small Ruminant/Camelid and UMN U of M Small Ruminant Camilid Club Zoological Exotics, Avian & Wildlife Clubs to thank you for your interest in learning more about elk!

Club members recently enjoyed a tour of Splendor Ridge Elk Farm in Howard Lake, MN followed up a few days later by an elk presentation given by Mark Lucas and Brenda Hartkopf at the University of Minnesota where 70 future veterinarians learned more about raising America’s Greatest Animal – Elk!!!