The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said late Wednesday it has started the process of destroying an infected herd of Alberta cattle this week, after one cow tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (TB). The agency said affected farmers are eligible to receive “fair market value” for destroyed cattle, along with payment for disposal costs.
“Tracing work continues with animals who have been in contact with the infected herd,” a statement from CFIA officials said.
READ MORE: What is bovine tuberculosis?
About 30 farms are under quarantine and “movement controls” with one herd spread over three locations declared infected, the CFIA said.
Brad Osadczuk, who runs a family cattle operation near Jenner, Alta., told Global News Tuesday the cow that tested positive came from his herd.
Watch below: Alberta rancher at centre of bovine TB quarantine speaks out. Quinn Campbell reports.
“The index herd, the herd the cow came from, will be destroyed,” he said. “Three-hundred-and-eighty-five cows and calves, cow calf pairs and 51 bulls and every other animal on the farm. Horses, cats, dogs – you name it.”
He said he’d been told he’d get some compensation but doesn’t know when the money will come.
“They are destroying everything that makes us money and it’s going to take years to build that back up,” he said.
“They’ve put a halt on any cattle movement, sales or anything – on or off our ranch.”
The CFIA said the movement is restricted to help prevent exposing other farms and animals to bovine TB while the investigation continues.
It said the CFIA may compensate producers for animals (or other things like contaminated feed) ordered destroyed as well as the disposal costs. It said regulations permit compensation on a “fair market value” up to $10,000 for registered cattle and $4,500 for commercial cattle.
“Financial assistance for other costs may be possible under programs such as AgriStability and AgriRecovery which are Growing Forward 2 initiatives with the provinces and territories,” the CFIA said, noting AgriRecovery has a framework for possible payments due to emergencies like disease outbreak.
Osadczuk said Tuesday some of his calves have been shipped out to be destroyed and the CFIA hadn’t yet told him when the rest will be taken or when the quarantine will be lifted.
The agency said tracing work continues to identify animals that may have been exposed to the disease “at individual premises and/or the Buffalo-Atlee and Suffield Block community pastures.”
“As additional information about the movement of potentially exposed animals is gathered, the CFIA investigation may involve additional locations and individual farms,” the statement reads.
There are no food safety concerns for consumers, the CFIA said.
With files from Global’s Quinn Campbell