MADISON -- The state needs
at least $22.5 million over the next three years to
battle a fatal deer disease found in the state's herd,
a spokesman for Gov. Scott McCallum said Tuesday.
McCallum sent a letter
Tuesday to Wisconsin's congressional delegation urging
it to fight for $18.5 million in federal money to
battle chronic wasting disease, which causes deer
to grow thin, act abnormal and die.
State agencies already
have requested $4 million in state money to assist
in the effort during the budget period that runs through
June 30, 2003.
"One way or another,
we're going to have to address it,'' McCallum spokesman
Tim Roby said. "If we don't get the money from the
federal government and they're not willing partners
in this, then we're going to have to figure out how
to handle it on the state level. Our first belief
is that the federal government should be partners
delegation has requested $4 million in emergency money
from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fight chronic
wasting disease for this year.
Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis.,
on Tuesday also requested an additional $500,000 to
develop a test for the disease that does not require
killing the deer. No such test exists.
Kind said the delegation
would be willing to consider McCallum's request. But
he said there is no specific federal fund designed
to allocate that much money to Wisconsin specifically
for battling chronic wasting disease, which could
make finding the money difficult.
"Unless there's an authorized
program, it will be a lot harder to appropriate the
money,'' Kind said.
Kind said the USDA indicated
it would rule within the next week on the request
for the $4 million.
Roby said the $18.5 million
would be used to hire additional staff to fight the
disease, pay for sampling and purchase equipment to
test for it.
That includes more than
$2.2 million to update the University of Wisconsin
System Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison
to equip it to test for chronic wasting disease. No
lab in Wisconsin is set up to test for the disease,
and samples have to be sent to an Iowa lab.
Roby said there would
also be a request in the state's two-year capital
budget that begins July 1, 2003, for $20 million to
renovate the lab. The money to pay for the project
would be raised through bonds sold by the state.