Livestock traceability allows animals to be traced through their lifetime. The primary purpose is to control and mitigate a disease outbreak. Current federal traceability requirements for cattle were introduced in 2000. Proposed regulatory amendments were published in Canada Gazette 1 in 2023.
The current traceability system is based on animal identification. The proposed regulations would incorporate movement reporting and geographical information in the form of provincially managed premises IDs. Reporting timelines would also be substantially shortened. CCA is actively engaged with CFIA to ensure that future regulations are both effective at achieving the intent of traceability and feasible for industry to implement.
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.
Canada achieved negligible risk status for BSE in 2021. In the new post-BSE era the CCA is working to fully capitalize on this status.
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
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 emergency prevention and preparedness including 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.
CCA is pleased with the Government of Canada’s Federal Budget 2023 commitment of $57.5 million over 5-years to establish a Canadian FMD vaccine bank and emergency response plans. The beef sector is collaborating closely with the CFIA, Animal Health Canada, and other at-risk species to develop delivery and deployment plans for the vaccine bank.
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. Following a two-year transition period on the feed, water and rest interval provisions for the livestock sector these regulations are fully enforced. The regulations strictly prohibit the transport of unfit animals and limit the transport of compromised animals directly to slaughter.
The CFIA and industry continue to work together on effective solutions to identified issues and to implement any adjustments. This work includes examining the effect of rest stop stations on cattle health and welfare and reviewing the results from 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.