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Western Canada celebrates TB-free status

Western Canada celebrates TB-free status

MacAulay and Carlier visit Alberta farm where first case was confirmed in Canada

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer

Lawrence MacAulay, minister of agriculture and agri-food, and Oneil Carlier, Alberta’s minister of ag and forestry, marked the eradication of bovine TB in Alberta last week.

The pair toured a previously quarantined farm where the first case of bovine TB was confirmed in Sept. 2016, according to a release from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada yesterday.

Although the investigation is still open, industry experts are confident Canada’s beef industry will remain TB-free.  

“While we are still awaiting some final culture results before the investigation can be officially declared closed, these cultures are from the lowest risk category of cattle, and we believe there is a very low probability of any of these cultures coming back positive,” Karin Schmid, Alberta Beef Producers’ beef production specialist, said to today.

Bovine TB was a significant hurdle for affected producers and Canada’s cattle industry.

Government officials worked closely with the beef sector to contain the disease and provided financial support for farmers impacted by the disease, according to the release.

“There were significant impacts to individual producers who either had to depopulate their herds or withstand extended quarantines during earlier stages of the investigation,” Schmid said.

“The producers involved with the investigation dealt admirably with a very difficult and highly stressful situation that was no fault of their own.”

These producers received a combined total of $39 million in tax relief and federal compensation for destroyed animals, the release said. A Canada-Alberta AgriRecovery program also provided up to $15 million to help producers pay for quarantine-related costs.

“Our government will continue to work with our provincial and industry partners to give Canada’s beef industry a competitive edge that will open doors here in Canada and around the world,” MacAulay said in the release.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency lifted all quarantines from cattle farms in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in February. No additional cases of bovine TB have been detected to date.

“The lifting of the quarantine is testament to the effectiveness of Alberta’s livestock traceability programs, the strength of our partnership with the federal government and the resilience of Alberta’s beef producers,” Carlier said in the release.


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