Montana Legislature Environmental Quality Council holds hearing on the tapeworm and more

Dr. Norman Bishop reports on the testimony-

I think the recent controversy over one kind of tapeworm that infests wolves and other canids and which can cause a secondary infection in other animals, including people, is mostly hot air meant to scare. However, in response to the controversy the Montana Environmental Quality Council held a hearing a few days ago. Dr. Norman Bishop of Bozeman, a naturalist with long experience with wolves and other wild animals testfied.

I also asked him to write up an account of the testimony given by the other participants in the hearing. I’m glad he took the time to do it rather than simply rely on media reports. Here is his report. I want to thank him for his testimony and time-consuming note-taking and write-up.

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Notes by Dr. Norman Bishop

I attended the Montana Legislature Environmental Quality Council’s session at the Capitol in Helena Friday May 7, 2010. Their agenda was Agency Oversight: FWP – Wolf Management.

On the topic of Echinococcus granulosis, (E.g.), Dr. Valerius Geist, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science, University of Calgary, gave a ten-minute talk via conference phone to the Council. He had emailed a 4-page statement to them. He said there was a chance of transmission of E.g. from deer and elk wintering where family dogs may be. He proposed a number of draconian preventive measures against E.g. spreading into family dogs: promote deworming, reduce straying and scavenging by dogs, medicate dogs after hunting. He would reduce wolves and coyotes; wolves, to prevent infections of humans when fearful elk seek refuge near buildings. He recommended hunting big game on their summer ranges, and targeting wolves there as well. He would reduce hydatid disease in wolves by using airborne baits with worming agents. He said to trap coyotes, and to burn grasslands to eliminate E.g. eggs. He warned against touching freshly skinned canids, cleaning the skins, and soaking them in helminthic. He said not to poke around scats, don’t pick berries or mushrooms, and eat with clean hands; cook liver and lungs of game over a campfire to kill cysts. Read the rest of this entry »