Last quarantine lifted in Alberta bovine TB investigation


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada this week announced a release of all quarantines related to the bovine tuberculosis investigation in Western Canada.

According to a press release, the release from quarantine includes 79 trace-out herds with approximately 15,000 animals, and 71 trace-in herds, also with roughly 15,000 animals.

“I am pleased that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has now removed all quarantines from farms with cattle in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and that no additional cases of bovine tuberculosis have been detected,” said Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay.

In total, approximately 11,500 animals were destroyed as a result of the bovine tuberculosis investigation, with $39 million in compensation from the federal government, and over $16 million in assistance from a Canada-Alberta program.

The producers of depopulated herds who completed the mandatory cleaning and disinfection of their premises have since restocked, and will need to complete two rounds of testing to ensure the new animals are free from bovine TB. That testing is set to take place this fall.

“The cooperation of individual producers and their industry associations played a key role in the progress of the investigation,” said Minister MacAulay, “and this has allowed Canada to retain its bovine TB free status with no disruption in access to international markets.”

Though the source of infection has not been identified, no additional cases beyond the six animals from one infected herd have been detected.

The official investigation will not be closed until final laboratory culture results are received later this spring.

Update: In response to our question of who sets the guidelines to retain bovine TB free status, a media relations official with the CFIA answered:

“Canada’s Health of Animals Regulations establish domestic requirements for declarations of freedom from bovine TB on a provincial basis. According to theRegulations, TB-free status is maintained as long as two or more herds affected with bovine TB are not detected within a period of 48 months. Under this requirement, the recent response involved a single affected herd and therefore did not affect Canada’s bovine TB status. All our international trading partners have accepted Canada’s ongoing declaration of freedom from bovine TB in livestock.”

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