Dr. Dale Douma, a MAFRI animal welfare program veterinarian, said he and others have met with ranchers and inspected herds in the RMEA on a case-by-case basis for a number of years free of charge, noting that a “handful” of them are experiencing health problems.
His office has at times offered free lab work and post-mortems on animals that they are concerned about, as well as arranging free transportation to bring samples to the lab.
“Generally, that offer has been turned down,” said Douma, adding that concerns expressed by some ranchers about violating CFIA rules forbidding the transport of animals out of the zone are unfounded, because the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian can acquire permits when needed.
“There’s definitely a lot of mistrust between certain producers and the CFIA, and that’s one of the reasons we got involved,” said Douma. “We hope that we, as the provincial government, can assist them. But it’s been challenging, for sure.”
Problems vary on a herd-by-herd basis, and may pertain to anything from disease issues unrelated to TB, nutritional problems and general – sometimes multiple – management issues.
“We certainly have not been able to find any evidence linking the use of tuberculin leading to any disease issues out there. We have identified multiple issues that they have been dealing with and that hasn’t appeased them.”
The office of the chief vet is currently conducting a trace mineral survey based on blood samples taken from animals. Results will be reported back to producers this fall, he said. [email protected]