Thompson unveils bill to fund $15M grant program to fight chronic wasting disease

U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) recently sponsored bipartisan legislation that would authorize a $15 million federal grant program to research a cure for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The Chronic Wasting Disease Research Act, H.R. 2081, would authorize funding under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which would make grants to states, institutions of higher education and other eligible entities that are researching a cure for CWD, a contagious neurological disease that affects free-ranging deer, elk and moose, causing the degeneration of their brains and resulting in death.

“Chronic wasting disease is devastating deer, elk and moose populations in Pennsylvania and other states in the U.S.,” Rep. Thompson said on April 5. “We don’t know enough about this neurological disease, but we need to in order to ensure healthy deer populations and prevent it from spreading it further.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, as of March 6, CWD in deer, elk and/or moose has been reported in at least 24 states in the continental United States, as well as in two Canadian provinces.

Because no cure or vaccine exists for CWD, H.R. 2081 would amend the Animal Health Protection Act to support research to find treatments that could stop this progressive disease, the congressman said, noting that the proposal encourages participation specifically with land grant universities, state departments of agriculture and eligible research facilities.

Rep. Thompson introduced H.R. 2081 on April 4 along with cosponsors who included U.S. Reps. John Joyce (R-PA) and Filemon Vela (D-TX).

“This bill increases our investment in research to find out what causes this fatal disease and how we can cure it,” said Rep. Thompson.