WHEREAS prior to the discovery of BSE in Canada, Alberta had a viable rendering industry that removed dead livestock from the farm gate;
WHEREAS attempts at on-farm disposal attract livestock predators such as coyotes, wolves and grizzly bears;
WHEREAS incidents of large carnivore interaction with farm families are increasing, causing real public safety concerns;
WHEREAS as the primary producer, the cow-calf operator or lamb producer once again bears the cost of regulations implemented for the entire production chain;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC lobby the federal and provincial government to compensate producers of cow-calf, lamb, elk, deer and all other livestock for dead stock pickup fees.
Pre-BSE Alberta had viable rendering industry that removed a significant amount of the dead livestock from our rural landscape. Implementation of feed ban and specified risk material regulations has made on farm pickup unrealistic.
On farm disposal of dead livestock can be very challenging in bear country. Bears will dig up 8 feet of cover in a dead animal pit to access a dead carcass. Every bear in Southern Alberta digs a den big enough to live in, they are very efficient excavators. Alberta’s predators are becoming habituated to dead livestock and predation is the next step. Burial is difficult under frozen conditions and incineration is not often practical. Research has proven that wolves will return to old dead pits on a regular basis, using them as waypoints as they travel their territories.
Albertans enjoy a healthy and expanding wildlife population. Wolves have impacted cattle in both the north and south of the province causing significant losses. Farm families and the general public are increasingly at risk as grizzly encounters become more common in the ranch country of the eastern slopes. A recent bounty on coyotes in Saskatchewan cost $1.4 million and took out 70,000 coyotes. Saskatchewan is now implementing a compensation program for coyote predation. In Alberta money would be better spent being proactive, removing attractants and reducing scavenging of livestock to a minimum.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions related to this issue. However, this has a similar theme to a recently expired resolution.
Resolution 16-07F (expired): THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties lobby the CFIA and Alberta Environment with the intent of ensuring that the policies, regulations and procedures regarding the handling, transportation and disposal of SRM’s, and carcasses containing SRM’s are practical and do not discourage livestock owners from using good practices in disposal of carcasses.
Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) is responsible for the Destruction and Disposal of Dead Animal Regulation. Under this regulation, a producer is permitted to bury dead animals, provided the weight in the pit does not exceed 2,500 kilograms. Natural disposal, which involves disposing of a dead animal in order to allow for scavenging, is permitted provided the total weight at any one disposal site does not exceed 1,000 kilograms. Additionally, farm open compost piles are permitted, providing the maximum volume of the animals, or parts thereof, does not exceed 25 per cent of the total compost pile.
The livestock industry has been facing several economic challenges, including the cost of using disposal methods such as rendering. While it is clear that compensating producers for dead stock pick up fees would be an important initiative, there are numerous critical demands on ARD’s financial resources that currently have priority until such time as dedicated resources can be made available for this initiative.
The AAMDC finds the government responses to be unsatisfactory. The federal response notes that regulation surrounding disposal of deadstock is a provincial responsibility. While financial challenges are a reality, the response indicates that this issue is not a priority and describes several options for disposal, none of which deal with the issues outlined in this resolution’s preamble. Earlier in 2013, the AAMDC was advised by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development that in the event of an emergency, there is a plan and resources in place to handle the disposal of large animals if needed but there is no long term plan to reinstate a rendering compensation program at this time. The AAMDC will further advocate on this issue.