Sportsmen upset with agriculture's lack of transparency
TribLIVE Sports Videos
There is finally some good news on the chronic wasting disease front.
Test results for Pink 23, a captive deer from the Adams County farm where CWD was first found in Pennsylvania, have come back negative. That was a concern. The deer was on the loose in the wild for weeks after escaping from inside a fence, and many worried it might be spreading the disease.
Purple 4, a captive deer that escaped from an unlicensed farm in Huntingdon County under quarantine for its connection to the Adams County facility, has likewise been killed. Tests are being done, but no results have been announced.
In the bigger picture, hunters don't believe they're getting enough news of any kind, good or bad, on a consistent basis from Pennsylvania's Department of Agriculture.
The Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs — the state's largest sportsmen's organization — sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary George Greig on Nov. 27 that takes the department to task for a “lack of timely and informative communications.”
“It leads to questions of whether the agency is doing its due diligence to investigate and manage the potential risks associated with current and future cervid farming practices and how it all relates to the potential risks to the wild cervid populations,” reads the letter, signed by Federation president Chuck Lombaerde.
The letter urges the agency to be more “transparent” and “forthright.” Others apparently want the same thing.
Kathy Davis of Speers, a volunteer with the Quality Deer Management Association and other groups, earlier filed requests under the state's Right to Know Law in an attempt to learn more about the department's investigation. Message boards have likewise been full of complaints from hunters upset with the agriculture department's perceived failings, such as not revealing the escapes of Pink 23 and Purple 4 until confronted by the media and public.
The result is the Federation's letter, which includes 16 questions, ranging from how many staff people are working on the wasting disease investigation to whether plans to share information “in a more timely and accurate manner” have been developed.
No answers have been offered. When asked, agriculture spokeswoman Samantha Elliott Krepps said, “We are reviewing the letter and responding to the PA Federation of Sportsmen's Club. It is not fair to respond to these questions to you without giving the federation those answers first.”
She did not say when answers might be coming. The federation would clearly like them soon.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-838-5148.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.