Gov. Nixon vetos bills to redefine 'livestock' to include captive deer

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 | 12:42 p.m. CDT; updated 7:47 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2014

COLUMBIA — Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday announced the veto of two bills that would have changed the way commercial deer ranches are regulated in Missouri.

The legislation would have taken the management of the captive herds away from the Department of Conservation and given it to the Department of Agriculture.

Nixon, who announced the vetoes Tuesday morning at the Tiger Hotel, said the bills would dismantle the efforts by the Missouri Conservation Department to protect the wild deer population from chronic wasting disease.

The Conservation Department has been discussing future regulations to prevent the spread of the disease, which is fatal and contagious, such as requiring a second, higher fence and regular disease testing on captive deer farms.

Chronic wasting disease has been found in two captive deer operations in north- central Missouri as well as in wild deer populations surrounding them.

Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, said chronic wasting disease could ruin the wild deer industry in Missouri.

"Deer hunters are overwhelmingly in favor of the veto," Kelly said. "I am very pleased that the governor is going to listen to Missouri deer hunters."

The wild deer industry in Missouri has been valued at up to $1 billion a year.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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