The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) provided an update on the bovine tuberculosis investigation on Friday, while the federal government announced additional tax relief on Monday.
Testing has now expanded to trace-in herds, with the majority of the on-farm testing planned to be completed by the end of December.
As of Friday, only the original six positive cases have been identified, all the same strain of bTB, from the same herd, which has now been released from quarantine.
In total, 11,500 animals have been destroyed, and 17,500 released from quarantine.
Trace-in herds — those that sent animals to the infected herd in the past five years.
Trace-out herds — herds that received animals from the infected herd in the past five years.
Four premises that housed co-mingled herds are still under quarantine, and completing the required cleaning and disinfecting.
Two trace-out herds are also under quarantine, and 68 of 170 producers will see testing in their (trace-in) herds over the next couple of months (30 in Alberta, 35 in Saskatchewan and 3 in Manitoba).
For those operations who have completed the cleaning, disinfection and ‘fallow period’ (time without animals on the premises), they may undergo restocking. If, however, restocking is done before two years, they will see two further tests: one to confirm purchased cattle aren’t infected and the second to ensure there is no reservoir of disease.
According to ABP, as of Friday, $40 million was paid in compensation fees for lost animals, and $7.1 million for extraordinary costs associated with effects like lengthy quarantines.
On Monday, federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced an extended tax deferral option for producers who receive compensation under the Health of Animals Act for forced destruction of livestock. The extension is meant to correspond with ranchers’ offsetting repopulation plans and replacement purchases, as determined in consultation with the industry, said Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
As a result, affected producers will have the option of reporting the following income for tax purposes, as follows:
- 2016 and 2017 tax year: no amount of compensation received will be included in income;
- 2018 tax year: 83 per cent of compensation received will be included in income;
- 2019 tax year: 11 per cent of compensation received will be included in income; and
- 2020 tax year: six per cent of compensation received will be included in income.
The disease was confirmed in a herd in Alberta in September of 2016, and by December, the province had declared it a disaster. It is possible, according to the CFIA, that the source of the infection will not be found.
Bovine TB is a contagious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis. It is a reportable disease in Canada, under the Health of Animals Act — all cases must be reported to the CFIA.