Deer Farmers Sue State and Loses to the Tune of $426,000

Deer Farmers Sue State and Loses to the Tune of $426,000

deer farmers

In order to combat the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department temporarily halted deer farmers from transporting captive deer after the disease was discovered in captive herds. They also in called for postmortem testing of some of the affected herd. Later, it put in place regulations limiting the movement of breeder deer across the state, and it instigated increased live and postmortem testing for chronic wasting disease.

Some Deer farmers thought the new regulations went too far and were too much of a burden to Texas’s $2.2 billion high fence “hunting” operations. Two of these farmers, Ken Bailey and Bradly Peterson, sued the TPWD.

According to they framing the issue in part as a violation of their private property rights, contended among other things that the state shouldn’t have authority to “regulate privately owned, captive-bred deer” as wildlife. State officials “have asserted they own the deer as wild deer,” their suit contended, going on to pan the wildlife agency’s regulations and the procedures it used to put them in place.

But District Judge Tim Sulak sided with the state in a recent ruling — and he ordered Bailey and Peterson to pay a total of nearly $426,000 for the state’s attorney’s fees.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton heralded the judge’s decision, however, saying the wildlife agency’s regulations “serve to protect Texas’ 700,000 licensed deer hunters, along with the thousands of people in rural communities across the state whose livelihoods depend on deer hunting.”

Paxton said the rules “reduce the probability of (chronic wasting disease) being spread from deer-breeding facilities, where it may exist, and increase the chances of detecting and containing (the disease) if it does exist.”

As of right now Jennifer Riggs, an Austin attorney representing Bailey and Peterson is considering an appeal.

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