Elk NetworkTennessee Fires Up Incinerator to Fight CWD

General | February 17, 2020

Seeking a way to better fight the spread of chronic wasting disease, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission (TWFC) approved a $1 million budget expansion to place an incinerator at the Fayette County Landfill, just east of Memphis.

“CWD poses many challenges including safe disposal of deer carcasses. As a response to concerns from citizens regarding the burial of carcasses, the TWFC has fully funded the purchase of a large incinerator that will be operational by next hunting season” said Dr. Hank Wright, commissioner of TFWC District 9. “We are working to put the best science available to use while serving not only the hunting public, but all citizens living in southwest Tennessee.”

The large-scale incinerator will be available to processors and hunters to dispose of deer from the CWD-positive and high-risk counties of southwest Tennessee. The incinerator will get above 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature necessary to kill the disease.

“When it comes to inactivating and denaturing prions and making them unavailable to infect additional animals, wildlife managers have very limited options,” said Dr. Dan Grove, UT Extension Assistant Professor and Wildlife Veterinarian. “Having a large scale incinerator available in Unit CWD will help provide a needed outlet for many of the potentially infectious waste materials generated from deer and CWD management activities in southwest Tennessee.”

Since detecting CWD first in December of 2018, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency established the goal of keeping CWD from spreading, keeping the number of diseased deer in the affected area to a minimum, and reducing disease rates where possible. The TWRA has already sampled more than 10,000 deer for CWD this deer season and the reported number of positives this season is 148 thus far.

(Photo source: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency)