Cattle released from quarantine have a clean bill of health

‘Early’ release animals may be sold, commingled, and moved — and carry no higher risk than any other cattle

As the Canadian Food inspection Agency (CFIA) investigation into bovine tuberculosis progresses, so too does the status of the cattle involved.

The majority of cattle operations identified as contact herds have completed the required testing and been released from quarantine without any restrictions.

CFIA grants a full release from quarantine once the cattle have been tested and found to be negative for bovine TB. A negative test result means these animals can be safely integrated into the normal trading activities.

An important takeaway for the beef sector is that cattle eligible for a full release from quarantine carry no higher risk than other animals in Canada, and quite possibly a lower risk given that the whole herd has been tested, and any reactor animals removed. A full release from quarantine is in effect a clean bill of health with regard to bovine TB.

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The CFIA can release trace-out and trace-in herds if a herd has had reactor animals removed, and the post-mortem and preliminary laboratory testing on those reactor animals have not shown any signs of the disease. While samples from these herds will still go through lab culture testing, they are considered low risk and eligible for release after an epidemiological review.

These “early” release animals may be sold, commingled, and moved as the owner sees fit, providing the following records are kept (and these are records everyone should be keeping in normal day-to-day operations):

  • CCIA tag numbers;
  • Age and gender of the animals;
  • Date any animals were removed from the premise;
  • Destination to which the animals were moved.

While there is a low risk of a previously negative herd getting a positive result during the lab culture test, the CFIA would follow the full investigation process for any herd declared infected. This would include destruction of the herd and tracing animal movements in and out of the herd for the previous five years.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Alberta Beef Producers, Saskatchewan’s Cattlemen’s Association, and other industry groups support the full and early release options as appropriate, risk-based release from quarantine to help individual producers resume their operations without undue risk to the industry.

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