Chronic Wasting Disease

(Denver-AP) -- Colorado elk breeders say they have lost about half of their industry because of chronic wasting disease in elk and forecast they will lose more ranchers if state agencies adopt a proposed agreement to deal with the crisis.

The Colorado Elk Breeders Association says a proposal to require them to put double fences around their property and wait 60 months to make sure elk are free of the neurological disease could put many of them out of business.

The association had 175 members in 1998 when it voluntarily agreed to stepped up monitoring for the disease. It is now down to 77 members, with another two dozen ranchers who do not belong but continue to raise elk in the 30 million dollar a year industry.

They say there is no evidence their 10,000 captive elk pose a threat.