ST. PAUL (AP) -- The Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced Monday that the final elk from an Aitkin County herd that were tested for chronic wasting disease don't have the disease.
All 48 elk in the herd have now tested negative for the disease, the board said. The herd was quarantined on Aug. 30 after a male elk died and tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
"We are encouraged that preliminary results indicate that CWD has not spread from the single infected animal," said Bill Hartmann, executive director of the Board of Animal Health.
The board is hoping for U.S. Department of Agriculture help in testing an elk herd in Sauk Centre and another in Sauk Rapids. The Aitkin County elk that tested positive for chronic wasting disease had contact with those elk herds, the board said.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is testing about a hundred wild deer that were in an area around the Aiktkin County elk farm. So far, 64 deer have tested negative for the disease.
Meanwhile, in Caldedonia, Minn., it was reported the state of Minnesota didn't need to take Wiebke Produce Inc. to court here to keep deer carcasses from Wisconsin that could be infected with chronic wasting disease out of Minnesota, the company's president said.
President Dan Wiebke said he had already decided to keep the dead deer in Wisconsin by the time the court issued a restraining order on Tuesday blocking the company from accepting the carcasses.
Eitzen-based Wiebke Produce contracted with the state of Wisconsin to store up to 15,000 deer carcasses while they were being tested for the disease.
Wiebke said his initial decision to bring them to Minnesota was made because Minnesota wildlife officials gave him conflicting statements about state regulations. He said that by the time he received a copy of the law last week, "we'd already made plans to store them at our Wisconsin facility (in Eau Claire). So Minnesota wasted a lot of time and money telling me I couldn't do something that I wasn't planning on doing anyway."
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