Bovine TB Quarantine Expands to Over 22,000 Head

The scope of the bovine TB investigation centred in southeast Alberta continues to grow. Here’s what we know so far:

As of Monday, over 22,000 head of cattle are now quarantined on around 40 premises. Most of the 40 quarantined locations are in Alberta, with no more than five in Saskatchewan.

The number of premises linked to the herd where all six confirmed cases of TB have been found has also grown to 18, said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s chief veterinarian Harpreet Kochhar on Monday.

The CFIA estimates there are at least 10,000 head at the 18 “index herd” locations.

“Nearly all the cattle from these 18 premises have been tested, and the removal and humane destruction of all animals on these premises is continuing,” said the agency.

Under existing CFIA regulation, producers will receive compensation for animals that must be euthanized. Federal agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay has stated that Ottawa is working with the Alberta government on support for producers impacted by the quarantine, although details are not yet known.

The CFIA has also said it supports setting up a feedlot for quarantined animals, but a specific location has yet to be announced.

Testing is expected to continue for months, although Kochhar said they’ve been able to “expedite testing” by bringing in staff from across the country to help.

The strain of TB identified is closely related to a strain originating from cattle in Central Mexico in 1997. Because of this, the CFIA believes this case did not originate from the local elk population.

Click here for the latest on the CFIA website.

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