NC farm bill moves captive deer regulation to ag department

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Legislation to shift regulation of North Carolina deer raised on farms from wildlife officials to the Department of Agriculture has cleared the first of three required Senate committees.

The transfer of “captive” deer farming is one item in a wide-ranging farm bill recommended Tuesday by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Deer and elk breeders have sought the change in regulations, arguing their animals are livestock and the industry had dwindled under Wildlife Resources Commission oversight. The commission began regulating the herds in the last decade while many feared chronic wasting disease would spread to North Carolina.

Sponsor Sen. Brent Jackson of Duplin County says the proposal represents consensus between the state agencies and the industry. Opponents argue the proposal won’t prevent smuggling on imported deer and will increase disease risk.

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