Unfortunately, all 700 of the elk are going to have to be put down because they've been exposed to Chronic Wasting Disease, which is "is a transmissible neurological disease of deer and elk that produces small lesions in brains of infected animals. It is characterized by loss of body condition, behavioral abnormalities and death. CWD is classified as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), and is similar to mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep."
While there are a number of outraged (and outrageous) comments in the news article, some are actually informative, and got me researching it further where I learned the fact that the abnormal protein that causes the disease damages the animal's nervous system and also contaminates the meat, but there's little evidence that it can be transmit to humans who consume the meat. The farmland itself is contaminated because the protein can be transmitted through the elk's droppings.
All in all it's a pretty unfortunate and sad situation.