Controversial legislation to consider genetically enhanced deer
By Ashley Conroy
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -- A controversial piece of legislation is being proposed by the State Senate to raise genetically enhanced deer.
Senate Bill 2530 would allow the import and export of farm-raised white tail deer, it's semen, ova, and embryos.
Bill author Senator Tommy Gollott, R-Biloxi says this practice would bring millions to the state annually.
"In Mississippi we need economic development and that's what this will do," Gollott said.
Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Alabama already engage in this buying, selling, and hunting of white tail deer.
Mississippi has other similar farms with different species that brings in a profit margin of $22.9 million dollars annually.
"It will allow the small farms to have enclosures where they can raise these deer, sell the deer, buy deer from outside the state of Mississippi," Sen. Gollott said.
The Mississippi Wildlife Federation is against the practice saying it could cause contamination.
"It's happened in other states where they have pin raised deer where you have things like chronic wasting disease that can be passed to our native white-tail deer," said Director of MWF Kathy Shropshire.
The legislation would require the State Veterinarian to oversee each operation. It would also require a license, and an annual renewal fee.
However, Shopshire says it's the message it sends to Mississippi's youth about genetically enhancing a wild species that concerns their organization most.
"The United States was established on the fact that wildlife belonged to the people, it didn't belong to a single individual," Shropshire said. "We think this probably sends the wrong message to our youth."
Meantime, SB 2530 has passed out of the Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks committee.
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