To help Canada meet its required BSE testing level as set by CFIA, to demonstrate the progressing reduction of BSE in our cattle herd, therefore demonstrating the safety of Canadian meat and to promote the acceptability of beef from Canada in international markets through an increase in submissions of eligible Alberta animals for BSE testing.
The Canada and Alberta BSE Surveillance Program (CABSESP)
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are refining the Canada-Alberta BSE Surveillance Program (CABSESP) to place greater focus on the highest risk cattle populations.
The CABSESP targets animals within any of the five different risk categories that are over 30 months of age without upper age limit. The five risk categories correspond to a) neurological animals (animals showing at least one neurological sign), b) animals that are sick and deemed unfit for human consumption, and c) animals that are down, d) distressed, and e) dead. Also, there is no longer a 30-day restriction period for lawful possession of animals. Currently, any cattle under lawful possession by producers in Alberta that fits into one of the risk categories and is older than 30 months is accepted under the BSE surveillance program. Animals of any age showing three or more clinical neurological signs are considered BSE Suspects and must be reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as per federal legislation. The CFIA will determine on a case by case basis if the animal is truly a BSE suspect and if a sample is to be taken.
The CABSESP is a risk-based program, which follows international scientific guidelines for BSE surveillance, focusing on collecting quality samples from the highest risk cattle populations.
By aggressively targeting the highest risk cattle populations, and by testing sufficient number of animals, Canada can more precisely and effectively verify that the level of BSE in the national herd continues to decline as quickly as possible. These changes also support Canada’s status as a controlled risk country for BSE, as recognized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and will facilitate market access for Canadian beef.
Reimbursement for Producers
Eligible producers are reimbursed $75 for each eligible animal, which is exactly the same amount that producers receive nationwide. Reimbursement to producers under the CABSESP is performed to offset the costs to have an animal assessed for eligibility, sampled if eligible, and to retain control of the carcass until a negative BSE test result is available.
Key points to consider before you call your veterinarian:
To request a submission form, or payment inquiries, please contact the TSE Unit at 780-427-8236, or fax to 780-422-5734. Questions on the CABSESP? Please call us to 780-422-0808.
- Cattle over 107 months of age (eight years and 11 months) are eligible for sampling for BSE testing under the Canada-Alberta BSE Surveillance Program (CABSESP). The minimum age for eligible cattle is still 30 months.
- Only a registered veterinarian certified by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF) can participate in the CABSESP.
- Veterinarians will be required to provide a description of the herd and operation, not just information on the animal.
- Producers will be required to provide farm records that include animal records, tags and/or tattoos that confirm the animal’s date of birth, or purchase date, and detailed history on the animal. These records must be authentic and should be consistent with the rest of the herd.
- The producer must be in lawful possession of the animal. Evidence of this possession will be required.