The fate of the captive Eau Claire County deer herd finally decided.
Wildlife officials have euthanized a total of 228 animals earlier this week in a Wisconsin deer farm in response to fears of spread of chronic wasting disease or CWD according to the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
Officials had been mulling options all summer after a deer at the farm near Fairchild, Wisconsin was first found to be positive for the disease that is similar to mad cow back in June. It was the first confirmed case of the disease ever in Eau Claire County. Further tests revealed at least two other animals were positive in September and October.
State officials had originally wanted to euthanize the deer earlier, but were unable to secure federal funds for the issue. The Wisconsin State Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer protection finally decided and went ahead with the culling using state funds.
In all, 228 captive deer were killed either by lethal injection by veterinarians or sharpshooters at the facility. Initial testing of the dead animals has already revealed at least 23 were positive for CWD, which is highly contagious among deer.
As a result, officials are taking no chances with spreading the disease. Positive animals will be disposed of in an anaerobic digester. The devices break down organic material with an absence of oxygen. The plans are for all the negative animals to be buried in a landfill.
While it seems the disease was quickly running rampant through the deer farm, the good news is that no wild deer in the area nearby have been found with the disease.
State officials have done an investigation into the deer at the farm owned by Richard Vojtik, but so far there has been no word on how the deer in the facility may have come into contact with the disease. Vojtik told WEAU.com in July the original positively-tested animal was born in captivity and he had no idea how it may have contracted the disease.
“That’s the strange part of my deer getting the disease is where it came from,” Vojtik told reporters.
In what appears to be further serious precautions by the state, he is being asked to maintain the fences around the farm for the next five years. Additionally, he will not be allowed to put any more deer into them during that time.
While the farmer lost his herd, U.S. Department of Agriculture agents were present to perform an appraisal of Vojtik’s farm. He could potentially receive up to $1,500 per animal under state laws allowing compensation for animals that have been condemned.