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Elk ranching a threat to “wild” elk

To the editor: Elk ranchers ask for logic; Not law Across Oregon the popularity of elk breeding is on the rise — and a slow one at that. That is because state lawmakers are hesitant to say, “Okay” to those interested in the business. So what’s their scare? According to state wildlife biologists there is a possibility of an ailment similar to that called the “mad-cow” disease that could devastate the wild herds. That seems to be the last hurdle for many Oregonians as they ask the legislature for help. But why does that pose any greater threat to “wild” elk, than to those considered “domestic.” Using logic, many would expect domestic elk to be healthier than those in the wild. Where in the wilderness can an elk go to receive vaccinations and be tested for life threatening diseases? Nowhere! At least in captivity herds would be monitored. It is not different than telling children not to eat wild fruits or berries. Aren’t farm-raised fruits and vegetables safer? So why would farm raised elk be any different. Personally I think the agencies in charge are afraid that a civilian might do something good that they did not think of first. And to put this into perspective, these hopefuls do not wish to spend thousands of dollars getting into the business just so they can turn these animals out into the wild, they are doing it for other reasons such as alternative food sources. So what is the problem with people raising elk? Currently there is a mere sixteen farms in Oregon that raise elk. And nothing shows there would be any type of outburst in the business if limits were lessened by the state legislative. So where is the problem? Mike Gillen Prineville