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Alta. ranchers affected by TB should receive compensation by Christmas

Compensation should be in the hands of Alberta ranchers affected by bovine tuberculosis before Christmas.

Applications for help through the 2016 bovine tuberculosis assistance initiative is now available and a number of affected producers have already applied to Alberta Financial Services Corporation which is processing requests.

“We urge the remaining ranchers to complete the application as soon as possible in order to access the funding available to assist with the cash flow pressures,” said Rosser Lloyd, director of business risk management programs at Agriculture Canada.

There are no changes in the number of positive cases or the number of premises under quarantine.

Seven premises have been released from quarantine as of Dec. 21, said Dr. Harpeet Kochhar, chief veterinary officer at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

About 26,000 head are in quarantine and testing should be finished by mid January with final results in March.  The full cultured tests require eight to 12 weeks.

Animals that reacted to the skin or blood tests are sent to slaughter for further examination of internal organs.

“This is an investigation that is evolving over time and a fluctuation in the number of quarantined animals and number of quarantined farms,” Kochhar said.

The possibility of moving quarantined animals to a terminal feedlot is still under discussion.

“We remain open and continue to work with industry to make sure the protocol is followed and if there is a suggested site we will act accordingly,” he said.

The investigation also includes tracing the source of the diseases so the threat can be dealt with.

“We have not been able to determine the specific cause. In the end we may not be able to pinpoint a particular source of infection,” he said.

Five premises in Saskatchewan in the South Saskatchewan River area remain under quarantine. About 4,000 head are involved and testing should be completed in January.

Contact barbara.duckworth@producer.com

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