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Rossburn Farmer Faces Three Counts

An April 16 trial date has been set for Rossburn-area farmer Rodney Checkowski, who has been charged with three violations of the Health of Animals Act, all of which are related to testing for bovine tuberculosis.

Court documents allege that on June 6, 2008, Checkowski refused to present his animals for TB testing, obstructed or hindered testing by moving the animals to another location, and failed to give reasonable assistance.

In a Brandon court appearance last week, Checkowski pled not guilty, and told the court that he could not afford to hire a lawyer.

Checkowski’s struggle with TB testing goes back 27 years.

His farm near Riding Mountain National Park has been quarantined four times, once for 15 months. The first postive TB case on his farm was discovered in 1983, and since then he has had 27 animals destroyed by animal health officials. Last year he sold off most of his 130-head herd.

Checkowski has long claimed that the caudal-fold screening test used by CFIA officials to test for bovine TB has caused his herd to suffer mysterious ailments.

That, and constant “harassment” by CFIA officials, has driven him out of business, he said. [email protected]

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