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AAFC: $39.8 Million to Implement Enhanced Feed Ban in Alberta

Published on 12 March, 2007, Last updated at 11:39 GMT
 
AG ALBERTA MEDIA 12/03/2007 he Government of Canada and the Alberta government are investing nearly $40 million in Alberta's beef industry to help accelerate the elimination of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) from Alberta's cattle herds. The Canada-Alberta funding program will help the province's cattle industry comply and adapt to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's enhanced feed ban, which takes effect on July 12, 2007. "Canada's New Government recognizes the tremendous efforts of our beef and cattle industries to ensure the safest and highest quality beef products," said the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board. "We are pleased to contribute funding to Alberta's program to assist industry in meeting the new regulatory requirement." George Groeneveld, Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Food, said this program provides Alberta's cattle industry with the support it needs to follow the enhanced federal regulations. "We understand the importance animal health plays in expanding our international markets," said Groeneveld. "This funding allows Alberta's cattle industry to remain a strong supplier of safe, quality food products to the world market." Today's funding announcement will assist Alberta's cattle industry in removing all specified risk material (SRM) - tissues that can harbour BSE - from all animal feeds, pet foods and fertilizers. The program is supported through a 60:40 federal-provincial cost-sharing agreement. The $19.8 million federal contribution is part of an $80 million commitment to SRM removal programs nation-wide. The province of Alberta's contribution of $20 million went beyond initial funding commitments to offset adaptation costs for the cattle industry and for research into new and innovative technologies that effectively extract value from SRM. The effective implementation of Canada's enhanced feed ban will ensure the protection of animal health, increase consumer confidence, and strengthen the cattle and beef industry's markets in Canada and abroad. The deadline to apply for first infrastructure funding is Friday, March 16th, 2007. More information on the Program can be found at www.agric.gov.ab.ca/srm or by contacting Cody Cunningham at 403-340-7089. BACKGROUNDER Canada-Alberta Specified Risk Material Disposal Funding Program Why is the Government of Canada implementing the enhanced feed ban? Canada's current feed ban has effectively limited the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) since being implemented in 1997. The enhanced feed ban is intended to further protect animal health, and will accelerate Canada's progress toward eradicating BSE from the national herd. Canada's actions are supported by an international team of animal health experts that reviewed the Canadian situation in 2003. Completing the feed ban requirement sends a message to the international trading community that Canada is committed to ensuring the highest quality and safest meat products possible for world trade. What are specified risk materials? Specified risk materials (SRM) are tissues that, in BSE-infected cattle, have been shown to contain the infective agent and transmit the disease. The following tissues are defined in Canadian regulation as SRM: skull, brain, trigeminal ganglia (nerves attached to the brain), eyes, tonsils, spinal cord, and dorsal root ganglia (nerves attached to the spinal cord) of cattle aged 30 months or older, and the distal ileum (part of the small intestine) of cattle of all ages. What will the funding be used for? Federal-provincial funding will be provided to a wide cross-section of industry to fund capital expenses for immediate and long-term infrastructure needs. Provincial funds will also be available to offset transportation and tipping costs, offset increased costs at provincial abattoirs, and support research into new and innovative ways to dispose of SRM. Who is eligible for funding through this program? Funding will be available to a wide cross-section of industry including the following groups: - federally regulated abattoirs that slaughter cattle; - renderers; - companies permitted to destroy or contain SRM; - individuals and companies with new technologies that eliminate infectivity and add value to SRM; - individuals and companies located in Alberta, which provide disposal solutions for SRM generated in the province; and, - provincially regulated red meat abattoirs and mobile butchers in Alberta that slaughter cattle. The deadline to apply for first infrastructure funding is Friday, March 16th, 2007. More information on the Program can be found online at www.agric.gov.ab.ca/srm or by contacting Cody Cunningham at 403-340-7089. For more information on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's enhanced feed ban, visit: www.inspection.gc.ca/bse CFIA news release on preliminary recommendation from World Organization for Animal Health regarding BSE in Canada: www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/newcom/2007/20070309e.shtml
 

 
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