Pearson plan to eradicate elk hoof disease put into motion

A plan to take action on the spread of hoof disease among the state’s elk herds was recently put in motion by the governor signing Senate Bill 5474 into law. The measure sponsored by Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, will begin identifying the causes of the spread of hoof disease and create solutions to end it.

“It is my hope that with the expertise of the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, working with agency officials, our Tribal leaders, sportsmen, and landowners that we can begin eradicating this horrible pestilence,” said Pearson, chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee.

Reports of elk with deformed hooves have become prevalent in southwest Washington, but now have spread to more herds throughout the state and even across state lines into Oregon.

Pearson’s bill, Senate Bill 5474, directs the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Fish and Wildlife agency officials and tribal officials to monitor elk herds, identify causes for the spread of disease and create solutions to eradicate it.

It also limits translocation of diseased elk in a way that might spread the disease to more elk or to domestic animals. Local farms have expressed concerns about hoof disease spreading to dairy herds with some reporting cases of hoof disease among their cattle.

The bill goes into effect 90 days after the Legislature’s adjournment last Sunday.