(L-R) Blaine Calkins

Disease find in cow proving troublesome for industry

A single cow found with bovine tuberculosis (TB) has thrown the cattle industry into a state of uncertainty.

A single cow found with bovine tuberculosis (TB) has thrown the cattle industry into a state of uncertainty and could level a tremendous blow to beef producers in at least two provinces.

The lone cow from a herd in southern Alberta near Jenner about 50 kilometres northwest of Brooks that was shipped to the United States in September, then identified as having bovine TB, has now led the quarantine of 35 herds in Alberta and Saskatchewan, which translates into about 10,000 cattle that will all have to be tested.

Two additional herds, which had been co-mingling with the index herd for some time, will be slaughtered along with the index herd followed by all of those animals being tested for the disease.

As of last week, only about seven of the other quarantined herds had been tested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the quarantine could remain in place for months, pending testing results. And so far, only the original cow has been found to have contracted the disease.

Greg Bowie, past-chair of the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) and who runs an operation near Ponoka, pointed out the case has spiraled into something that could see some producers lose everything.

“If anyone of those other herds are found to have a positive reactor test, then those animals and potentially more will be destroyed,” he said during the ABP’s regional zone meeting in Ponoka on Nov. 1.

“That could prove devastating to the industry that is already hurting significantly due to the driving down of prices.”

Meanwhile, the ABP has also been after the province to make a request for federal disaster assistance for those affected by the quarantine, while encouraging producers to seek out funds from three other assistance programs that are available.

However, ABP executive director Bob Lowe explained that most ranchers in the affected region are not used to having to over-winter calves and can’t wait for the length of time needed to receive those funds because of having to access the extra resources now.

Lowe added the blame is squarely on the CFIA for having taken this long to respond and deal with the issue, calling it ‘ridiculous’ and a little late.

There are conflicting reports, with the CFIA stating the producer was notified of the find on Sept. 23 the day after the CFIA was told by U.S. authorities while the ABP stated the producer was told on Sept. 27 and other producers in the area weren’t notified for another three weeks. Lowe doesn’t find the silence hard to understand, but was astounded the CFIA seemingly did nothing else during that period. The first slaughter of animals started on Nov. 7.

Since Oct. 19, the CFIA has committed to providing the ABP and the province with progress updates every two weeks.

More details can be found by going to www.albertabeef.org and www.inspection.gc.ca.


Just Posted

Reflections: Celebrating the long history of the Ponoka Fire Department

The department served Ponoka for 112 years protecting area residents

WCPS to set meeting with Alberta Education

Wolf Creek Public Schools wants to see some clarification on student funding

UCP leader uses Ponoka fundraiser to prep party for spring election

Jason Kenney focused on policy convention and need for united front in order to win in 2019

Concerns of CFOs has Ponoka County considering changes

County council approves hiring of consultant to help with MDP changes

WCPS approves new name for Ponoka Outreach School

Trustees accept suggestion to rename Ponoka Outreach, awaiting Alberta Education approval

NDP gives Liberal budget ‘failing grade’ on gender equality

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson said budget doesn’t do enough to focus on pay equity

Black Press Media acquires two new Alaska newspapers

New Media Investment Group to acquire the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal while Black Press Media takes on daily newspapers in Juneau and Kenai Alaska

Men arrested at Starbucks say they feared for their lives

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, becoming viral video

Did a Canadian shoot down the Red Baron? A century later, debate hasn’t quit

Om April 21, 1918 two Canadians in their canvas-covered Sopwith Camel biplanes engaged the enemy

VIDEO: Canadian teen lands invite to Royal wedding

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have invited Faith Dickinson, founder of Cuddles for Cancer

Ponoka County worries about Prussian carp in Gull Lake

Alberta Environment delays pumping due to at least 1,000 carp found near the pump channel inlet

Health committee cheers idea of national pharmacare program, but cost an issue

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says she fears costs could be far higher than $19 billion

Canada’s oldest blood donor says it’s all gain, no pain after decades of giving

Great-grandmother and Coquitlam, B.C., resident has been donating blood since the late 1940s

Most Read