An idea from the beef industry to move cattle being inspected in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s bovine tuberculosis investigation in southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan to a feedlot or feedlots has been approved.
The CFIA announced the move during an update on Friday in an effort to help provide relief for ranchers who have been forced to hold on to cattle longer than normal due to the quarantine.
The CFIA’s Deputy Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Jaspinder Komal has left it up to the beef industry to find a feedlot that will serve as an alternate quarantined site. It’s believed the cattle could start moving as soon as Monday or Tuesday.
Details on who will pay for the cost of moving, feeding and taking care of the animals at the feedlot are still being determined.
The announcement comes at the end of a week, which saw the rancher at the centre of the investigation, Brad Osadczuk from Jenner, present to the parliamentary standing committee on agriculture about the financial peril his operation and many in his region are dealing with because of the investigation.
“We owe the bank hundreds of thousands of dollars, and then we go oh by the way, we need a couple hundred thousand dollars for feed for cows in the end are going to die,” Osadczuk told the committee on Tuesday.
Osadczuk says for 400 head it is costing him about $92,000 a month to keep them.
The first case was found in a cow that was slaughtered in the U.S. and traced back to the herd in Jenner. Five more cases have been found in the same herd since the investigation started.
Currently 35 operations are under quarantine, 31 in Alberta and four in Saskatchewan, affecting some 22,000 head of cattle.
On Thursday, Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay told the House of Commons that aid was on the way for producers.
“We are committed to compensate these ranchers for the costs they are facing, including interest on their advanced payment loans,” MacAulay said.
The Conservatives and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association are pushing the government to do more to help compensate ranchers affected quicker.
The CFIA says the investigation could take months to complete.
For more information on the CFIA’s investigation click here.