Deer breeding farm debate heats up at the capitol - - Jackson, MS

Deer breeding farm debate heats up at the capitol

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By Ashley Conroy

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -- The debate over whether legislation should be passed to add white tail deer breeding farms in the state continued at the Capitol on Monday.

After it passed the Senate, House lawmakers listened to expert testimony from both sides of the argument.

Around 50 people attended the hearing, some in favor and others against Senate Bill 2530.

"It's somewhat controversial and today is just a way of finding out who it affects, what does it affect and if we need to proceed with the legislation," said Rep. Blaine Eaton (D-Taylorsville).

SB 2530 would allow for the import and export of white tail deer, it's semen, ova and embryos for breeding purposes.     

Texas, Florida, Louisiana and Alabama already have the measure in practice, and it's currently a billion dollar industry.

"Some of these deer breeders bring in a tremendous amounts of money when they're harvested and we just hate to see that disappear from this state when we need the money here," said Mississippi Deer Farmers Association member Tommy Snail.

Kathy Shropshire from the Mississippi Wildlife Federation is against this legislation, and says nature could take it's course and bring chronic wasting disease to white-tail deer in Mississippi.

"Right now we have laws that keep deer from being brought in, and we think that's one of the things that has kept our state disease free and that we continue to enjoy the hunting possibilities," said Shropshire.

This legislation would not allow hunting on farms in Mississippi, but Shropshire says the deer could still be sold to farms in other states that do allow hunting.

"We also think that this is against fair chase foundations for our hunting heritage," said Shropshire.

Before House lawmakers could bring SB 2530 for a vote in front of the full House, Chairman Eaton will have to address it in committee first.

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