Gov mishandled effort on CWD, Doyle charges

August 30, 2002 Capital Times (Madison, WI) by Matt Pommer
Attorney General Jim Doyle today charged that Gov. Scott McCallum was trying to "cover up" his failures to get federal help on chronic wasting disease.

Doyle, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, said McCallum wrote the U.S Department of Agriculture a week after the department gave its answer to a request for money. "Nice gesture, but once again, it's too little, too late," Doyle said.

McCallum responded by accusing Doyle of playing the "partisan blame game with chronic wasting disease."

The governor said he would "continue to work in a bipartisan fashion with our congressional delegation and our state Legislature" on the issue.

"I will continue to develop a coalition of farmers, animal health professionals, meat processors and hunters to fight this deadly deer disease," the governor continued. "Together we will convince USDA that it must be a full and willing partner in our battle. We will not be successful by playing partisan politics"

On Wednesday, the governor's office released a letter from McCallum expressing his frustration with the Bush administration on the lack of federal aid to help reassure hunters about the safety of the deer.

"Quite frankly, it is way past time for USDA to get off the dime and approve a rapid test for CWD and to dramatically accelerate the certification of private labs, beginning with the Marshfield Clinic, to test for CWD in Wisconsin this fall," McCallum wrote in Wednesday's letter.

Doyle noted that the USDA turned down Wisconsin's request on Aug. 20. The governor's office announced Aug. 14 that President Bush had told McCallum he'd speak to the USDA about private testing in Wisconsin.

"Scott McCallum needs to stop making excuses for Wisconsin's failure to restore hunter confidence in Wisconsin's deer herd," Doyle said.

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