Canada’s National Farmers Union has urged federal Agriculture Minister, Lawrence MacAulay, and his provincial counterparts, Hon. Oneil Carlier (Alberta) and Hon. Lyle Stewart (Saskatchewan), to provide immediate relief to cattle farmers affected by the expanding quarantine measures required in response to the discovery of Bovine Tuberculosis infection of six Alberta animals. Farm families are suffering undue stress and financial hardship.
“Farmers affected by the quarantine have had to continue feeding and caring for their cattle well beyond when they expected to sell them. Their losses are compounded because they must incur extra costs while being prevented from selling,” said Glenn Norman, NFU Region 7 Board member. “Even worse, this situation is happening at the time of year when cash flow is most challenging. Bills are coming due for inputs, mortgage payments, and operating loans as well. Extra interest and late payment costs are adding up on top of the added feed and labour bills.”
“We are glad that quarantined animals will soon be moved to a new site, and that farmers will be compensated by the CFIA for the six animals that have tested positive for TB,” said Doug Scott, NFU Region 7 Coordinator. “However, it is still unclear whether or how much compensation will be available for the losses that have resulted from quarantining the thousands of animals that have been in contact with the infected cattle.”
“We urge both federal and provincial governments to provide immediate financial relief to the cattle farmers whose herds are being held in quarantine due to the bovine TB outbreak in Alberta and Saskatchewan,” stated Norman. “It will take time for the details of an Agri-Recovery response to be worked out. Immediate relief needs to be provided now so that Alberta and Saskatchewan cattle farmers do not have to carry the full burden of protecting the sector from this disease outbreak.”