HPAI tests for lactating cows entering Canada make sense, says CCA

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The advent of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in several dozen U.S. dairy herds in nine states has prompted both U.S. and Canadian regulators to impose testing restrictions on transportation of lactating animals.

Dennis Laycraft, executive vice president at the Canadian Cattle Association, says that the virus appears to reproduce in mammary tissue making dairy cattle more susceptible, possibly, and that beef cattle herds in close proximity to the positive cases in the U.S. have not shown to have contracted the virus.

As of April 29, lactating animals entering Canada are subject to a testing requirement, similar to inter-state movement of animals in the U.S.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency continues to monitor and test Canadian animals for HPAI, and Laycraft says that more stringent testing of dairy animals coming into Canada makes sense from an animal health and HPAI surveillance perspective, however at this time a testing requirement on all cattle isn’t warranted.

Right now, “There shouldn’t be any additional restrictions put in place [regarding animal movement],” Laycraft says, adding that there doesn’t seem to be any value in testing young animals at this stage either, but that learning as much as is possible about the disease and how it spreads is very important.

Editor’s note: This interview was recorded in the morning of May 3, 2024

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