| ||BSE surveillance is a program that tests a representative group of animals focusing on higher-risk cattle that are most likely to be affected by the disease. The surveillance program's objectives are to determine and monitor the level of BSE present in Alberta and to confirm the effectiveness of the suite of measures that Canada has implemented to protect human and animal health from the disease.
Darrel Rutt, a long-time cattle rancher in the Valleyview area, says he sees a lot of value in the program.
“We went through it when it first hit and it was devastating and a lot of people went through a lot of work in the following years to create market access back into the markets that had closed to us because of the outbreak. Without this ongoing surveillance program, I feel we are in danger of losing or being severely restricted access to the markets we’ve reopened if we don’t carry on this program,” Rutt says.
The programs offers free veterinary visits for sample collection and free testing, which is beneficial to understand the herd’s health situation.
Any animals suspected of carrying the disease is inspected by a veterinarian who also provides a free post-mortem analysis of the carcass which Rutt says “takes the guessing out” as to possible causes of the animals death.
BSE testing helps maintain continuous access to domestic and international markets for Alberta cattle and beef products resulting in, and maintaining very good business profitability. Rutt offers his thoughts on those who aren’t yet participating in the program.
“I think it’s incumbent on everyone to be involved in this (the surveillance program) because it has effects on the whole livestock industry and I can’t see why anyone would not participate in it,” he says.
Alberta BSE Surveillance Program