The CFIA is wrapping up its bovine TB investigation
By Diego Flammini
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) investigators are confident the bovine tuberculosis outbreak in Alberta hasn’t spread beyond the province’s borders since six cases of the disease were discovered last year.
“So far, the signals are all really encouraging – that we’re almost at the end (of the investigation, and) there’s no evidence of spread,” Rick James-Davies, a CFIA inspector, told the Alberta Beef Producers at their annual general meeting on Tuesday, according to CBC.
“No evidence that (the disease) spread (and) no evidence of a residual source. There will continue to be some ongoing work,” he added.
Since a cow from Jenner, Alta. tested positive for bovine TB last year, a total of 11,500 animals had to be euthanized across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Another 50,000 cows were tested across 150 farms.
Affected producers have received a total of $39 million in compensation from the CFIA.
As of Dec. 12, there were 33 remaining Alberta farms requiring testing. And 23 of those herds has been tested and released, according to the CFIA.
A total of 71 trace-in herds (herds that sent animals to the infected herd in the past five years) will be tested across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. So far, 42 herds have been tested and released.
The 2016 outbreak is also an indication that the cattle industry needs to improve its tracking capabilities.
The industry has a number of tracking mechanisms in place but more can be done according to Rich Smith, executive director of the Alberta Beef Producers.
“We have animal identification, we have movement tracking in Alberta through the manifest system,” he told CBC. “We have premise identification. But what we’re not doing is catching animals when they move from one operation to another operation yet.”
CFIA’s testing is expected to be completed before the end of the year, with its final report scheduled for release in the spring.