Livestock inspections may soon be mandatory in Manitoba.
In a close vote Feb. 8, members of the Manitoba Beef Producers passed a resolution at the organization’s annual meeting in Brandon to lobby the provincial government for mandatory inspections.
Manitoba cattle producers have debated the idea in the past, but it was previously voted down.
Not this time.
The vote this year was 45 in favour, 42 opposed.
“It was imperative that we got it passed. And we did get it passed,” said MBP president Ben Fox. “It opens up a lot of security for the producers and the lenders. So, it really is a win for the beef industry…. It’s such an important part of the chain of possession, in the livestock (trade).”
Manitoba remains the only province in Western Canada where livestock inspections are not mandatory. Nonetheless, Fox is optimistic that the provincial government is open to change.
“I would hope when beef producers are in favour of certain resolutions… that they (provincial government) would lend us their ear.”
Passing the resolution proved difficult, with some cattle producers at the Brandon meeting speaking against mandatory livestock inspections.
Heinz Reimer, former MBP president, was one of those opposed.
Reimer argued that livestock inspection is too expensive, and may cost $4 to 6 per head.
Fox said those figures are incorrect.
“The cost right now of Manitoba cattle that are inspected, it’s $2.75 charge per head. Those charges they happen now, on the cattle going west. It’s just that the producer doesn’t necessarily see that…. Those cattle have to cross Saskatchewan and into Alberta. There is legislation that those cattle carry a … permit with them. Those cattle have to be inspected by livestock inspectors.”
Other producers at the meeting said livestock inspection is unnecessary, a hassle and slows down the process of selling cattle.
Fox didn’t agree with those ideas.
“In my experience with it, it actually speeds the process up…. It’s a simplified piece of paper that makes the industry and commerce flow that much more easier,” he said. “It’s a line of paperwork that producers can use, that was filled out by a third party. It shows who owned the cattle. Where they were shipped to. Who gets paid for the cattle.”
Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia all have organizations that provide brand inspection and brand inspection services.
In Alberta, the branding of livestock has been a legal requirement since 1878.