In 2018 the MO Supreme Court ruled against the confined deer industry in its attempt to avoid regulation by the Conservation Commission.

In an apparent attempt to circumvent that ruling and and to appease the industry for the defeat, Governor Parson recently appointed orthodontist Dr. Steven Harrison, the founding president of the industry association, to the Missouri Conservation Commission.

Nothing about Dr. Harrison’s history with the industry is mentioned in the governor’s press-release. This omission seems a clear attempt to mislead the voters. What possible explanation could there be other than to ensure Senators hear as little about this before they are called on to approve the appointment?

The omission conceals facts which would alarm citizens concerned for the future of wild deer in Missouri — a future clouded by the clear threat of Chronic Wasting Disease. CWD was apparently brought into Missouri by the confined deer industry. There is no way to transport live deer without the risk of further spread.

At best, this appointment is highly disrespectful of the Missouri constitution and the language voters approved to create the Conservation Commission. At worst it is a devastating attack on Missouri’s tradition of quality science-based conservation, placing the economic interests of those who confine big game animals on a par with the public interest in healthy wildlife for future generations.

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