Established by producers in 1998 and incorporated in 2001, Canada’s traceability system is based on three pillars: animal identification, premises identification and animal movement. Led by the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA), Canada’s traceability program is designed and developed for the containment and eradication of animal disease. The Canadian Cattle Identification Program is the only national cattle identification program in North America.
In Canada today, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has only approved “low frequency” (LF) ear tags to serve as an “approved indicator” for livestock identification. At the same time, however, ongoing advances in digital technology have led to the design, development, and deployment of “ultra-high frequency” (UHF) options with enhanced performance metrics that could provide tangible benefit across the Canadian beef supply chain.
CCA, in close collaboration with industry stakeholders, is investigating a possible adoption pathway for UHF while ISO standards are being finalized. This effort is focused on the feedlot level of the beef value-chain and would involve linking UHF to the existing LF technology.
Post-BSE Negligible Risk Priorities
CFIA, GAC and AAFC in collaboration with industry are developing a comprehensive inventory of trade related files that would (or could) be positively impacted by Canada’s transition to Negligible Risk for BSE.
The Canadian beef industry’s three main BSE-related priorities are:
- Alignment of specified risk material removal with the US
- Removal of the remaining BSE market access barriers
- Removal of the unnecessary feeder and replacement export requirements for the US
National Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Vaccine Bank
Given the establishment of the US FMD Vaccine Bank and the known catastrophic risk of an FMD outbreak in Canada, CCA is strongly encouraging the Government of Canada, specifically Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to establish a Canadian FMD Bank of 30 million doses, consisting of 2.5 million doses of the 12 most prevalent FMD vaccine concentrates. The projected annual cost is estimated at $3.2 million including annual potency testing and licensing.
CFIA modelling has shown that a FMD outbreak in highly populated livestock regions would represent one of the worst-case scenarios for Canada and would require between 1.9 million and 2.7 million doses of FMD vaccine. We currently have a significant shortfall in available emergency vaccine, and the 14-week timeframe to produce a vaccine represents a significant risk to the livestock industry and to the Canadian economy.
National species groups who would be affected by FMD have provided detail annual cost estimates relating to traceability, biosecurity, and animal health. A final report has been completed and calculates annual industry (Beef, Dairy, Pork, and Sheep) contributions to traceability, biosecurity, and animal health are estimated at over $62M. It has been estimated that a large-scale outbreak of FMD could have over a $65 billion impact to Canada’s GDP.
Animal Health Canada
CCA fully supports the Animal Health Canada (AHC) initiative to proactively address the real threat of a foreign animal disease outbreak that would be catastrophic to the Canadian beef industry. AHC provides a formal structure for the industry-government collaboration required to successfully implement the animal health components of the Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada (PAHS). AHC encompasses a pan-Canadian, public-private collaboration built on the guiding principles of accountability and decision-making open to the participation of both levels of government and all animal industry sectors. AHC will undertake actions and deliver programs that achieve high standards of animal health protection and economic risk mitigation, consistent with the objectives and guiding principles of the PAHS.
The new regulations for the humane transport of livestock including beef cattle came into force on February 20, 2020, with a two-year transition period on the feed, water and rest interval provisions for the livestock sector. As industry transitions and adapts from the old regulations’ transport times to the new regulations, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will focus its activities for feed, water and rest times on compliance promotion through education and awareness measures for the first two years.
This approach will allow the CFIA and industry to continue to work together on effective solutions to identified issues and to implement any adjustments. This work could include examining the capacity of rest stop stations in Canada and reviewing the ongoing government funded livestock transportation research.
CCA is asking the government to review the research and ensure regulations are based on sound science. It is imperative that we get the regulations right – our goal is to maintain and improve the industry’s excellent track record.
Learn more about Animal Health and Welfare in Canada’s beef sector.