Quarantines added in bovine TB probe

Alberta’s provincial Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier and Medicine Hat MLA Bob Wanner (r) met Dec. 21 with producers affected by the bovine tuberculosis outbreak near Jenner, about 75 km northeast of Brooks. (Government of Alberta photo)

Federal inspectors’ search for animals exposed to one of six Alberta cattle confirmed with bovine tuberculosis (TB) has led them to quarantine more farm sites for testing.

As of Wednesday, “approximately 50” farm sites, mostly in southeastern Alberta with “approximately five” in southwestern Saskatchewan, are under quarantine and movement controls, affecting about 26,000 animals, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reported.

The number of farm sites released from quarantine has also risen by one since last week, to seven, the agency said.

The quarantined sites include 18 premises where cattle are confirmed to have been exposed to one of the six TB-positive animals. At those sites, which are deemed “infected premises” and are being depopulated of cattle, on-farm testing is now complete, the agency said.

On those 18 premises, the agency said Wednesday, CFIA’s cleaning and disinfection unit will now run assessments, draw up decontamination plans and issue an “order to clean and disinfect” to the property owners.

As for the testing of other cattle under quarantine, CFIA said its labs “will remain open and testing will continue throughout the holidays.”

On-farm testing will be “momentarily paused” between Christmas and New Year’s, however, “recognizing the importance of the holidays and those living and working on farms.”

CFIA emphasized in its statement Wednesday its investigation “is progressing, but the nature of the disease itself means that the investigation will also be lengthy and complex.”

Alberta’s Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier, in a separate statement Wednesday, said he met with affected producers and that “while the investigation has created many challenges for these producers, I continue to be inspired by their resilience during this difficult situation.”

The affected producers, he said, “know how important it is to protect our livestock and markets from disease. Despite the complex challenges involved, they are stepping up to do what’s necessary to ensure the health of Alberta’s and Canada’s animals.”

Carlier acknowledged “many people and organizations who are committed to supporting our cattle producers during this time of financial, logistical, and emotional stress,” adding that federal and provincial officials are “working around the clock to deal with this ongoing situation and provide assistance to farmers.” — AGCanada.com Network

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