The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission will fund the installation of an incinerator in Fayette County to dispose of deer carcasses that test positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
The incinerator will provide a disposal option safer than burial for carcasses in the southwest Tennessee region, according to a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency news release.
The always-fatal "zombie deer disease" affects free-ranging deer, elk and other members of the deer family. Abnormal proteins called prions damage normal proteins in an affected deer's brain, giving it a sponge-like appearance.
CWD has never been recorded in humans, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people do not eat meat from deer that test positive for the disease.
Conventional cooking does not kill CWD. The incinerator will heat infected carcasses to above 1800 degrees, enough to denature the prions, effectively inactivating them.
More: What should hunters do to slow the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease?
"We are working to put the best science available to use while serving not only the hunting public, but all citizens living in southwest Tennessee," TFWC District 9 Commissioner Hank Wright stated in the release.
The commission approved the project, which will cost about $1 million, in December. The incinerator will be located at the Fayette County Landfill and will be run and maintained by Fayette County, according to the release. It will be operational in time for the next hunting season.