The VOICE of Anglers and Hunters since 1928

Chronic Wasting Disease

The threat of CWD coming to Ontario just got greater. On September 10, 2018, chronic wasting disease (CWD) was detected on a red deer farm in the Laurentides region of Quebec, almost directly across the Ottawa River from eastern Ontario.

The risk can no longer be ignored and the OFAH will be doubling down on our effort to convince governments to take the action needed to keep Ontario CWD-free.

The OFAH is calling on the Ontario government to:
• Prohibit the movement of live captive cervids into and through Ontario.
• Phase out existing deer farms with adequate compensation to the farmers.

The single most important part of CWD management is ensuring that it does not arrive in Ontario. Ontario is extremely vulnerable due to our deer farm industry. The spread of CWD is closely linked to deer farms and the movement of live captive cervids. For this and other reasons, the OFAH has been pushing for the elimination of deer farms in Ontario since 1991. During this time the OFAH has lobbied successive governments at the provincial and federal level to take meaningful action. Despite our efforts and the clear risk these farms present, deer farming still takes place in the province. Worse still, the MNRF and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs still grants permits for the transport of live captive cervids into and through Ontario.

The OFAH supports Ontario research into chronic wasting disease and other diseases affecting our native wildlife.

The OFAH supports the MNRF CWD surveillance program and communicates the annual sampling plans through our media outlets. We have also offered financial resources for additional monitoring in eastern Ontario in response to the discovery of CWD in Quebec.


Put your voice behind our efforts to achieve government action —  donate today and help us invest in keeping Ontario CWD-free.

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Below is a photo provided by Mike Hopper, Game Warden, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism.  This picture shows what CWD can do to a deer, however animals can be infected and infectious without showing any symptoms.


The Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP), the Quebec equivalent of the MNRF, has commenced control and monitoring operations in the area around the infected deer farm. You can read the full up to date details here.

Click the image of the map to enlarge. 

The MNRF conducts annual rotating surveillance for chronic wasting disease in hunter harvested deer throughout the province. In 2017, the surveillance was in eastern Ontario with 512 white-tailed deer and 1 moose sampled. All were negative for CWD. Read the full report (Ontario Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Program 2017 Update). The 2018 surveillance is currently planned for southwestern Ontario, however the MNRF is reviewing this decision based the Quebec case. The MNRF encourages members of the public to visit for more information and to report strange or sick acting animals to their local MNRF district office.



CWD is highly infectious, incurable, and 100% fatal to members of the cervid family, which includes Ontario’s native white-tailed deer, moose, elk and caribou as well as exotic species such as red and fallow deer. It has been detected in three Canadian provinces, 25 states in the U.S., Finland, Norway and South Korea. CWD is caused by a misfolded protein known as a prion (“pree-on”) and is one of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies which also includes mad cow disease. CWD-infected animals continuously shed prions which can pass to other animals through direct contact or accumulate in the soil, vegetation, or on hard surfaces and from there infect other animals. Prions are resistant to chemicals, radiation, freezing and even incineration at more than 600⁰C. The visible symptoms of CWD include weight loss, excessive salivation, disorientation, tremors, stumbling, a lack of coordination, and paralysis. However, not all infectious animals display these symptoms and there is no effective live test for CWD. All these factors make CWD incredibly dangerous to Ontario’s native cervids and incredibly hard to eradicate if it becomes established.


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