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Agriculture

Canada needs stronger policies to protect against imported-dog diseases: vets

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  • VANCOUVER — When a British Columbia woman experiencing fever, headaches and weight loss for two months finally went to her doctor, a blood test revealed she’d contracted a contagious disease from a dog she’d rescued in Mexico.

    Dr. Elani Galanis, an epidemiologist and public health physician at the BC Centre for Disease Control, said the case was surprising because the previously healthy middle-aged patient didn’t seem to be a candidate for the transmission of brucellosis, which medical literature suggests can afflict people with weakened immune systems, or the very young and elderly.

    “Up until this adult woman became infected and tested positive we felt like the risk to humans, although possible, was very, very low,” said Galanis, who wrote about the anonymous woman in a recent issue of the BC Medical Journal.

    The woman worked for an animal-rescue organization that transported dogs to Canada from Mexico and the United States, often driving there to pick up the animals, Galanis said.

    On one occasion, she was bringing back a pregnant dog from Mexico and likely came into contact with the animal’s pregnancy fluids as it spontaneously aborted two stillborn puppies, Galanis said, adding the dog later tested positive for the bacterium brucella canis and the woman was diagnosed after seeking medical treatment last December.

    “Given the story in other places, like the rest of North America, this hasn’t been seen much before,” Galanis said of transmission of the disease to humans. “We’re just starting to see it so I do believe it’s a true emergence of a new problem.”

    “For us, the priority will be to ensure that physicians are aware that this is possible, that they ask the question about contact with animals, particularly imported dogs.”

    Rob Ashburner, a veterinarian and spokesman for the B.C. branch of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, said efforts to have stricter regulations on the importation of dogs involving multiple federal agencies have so far been fruitless.

    “The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has spent a lot of time trying to get the federal government to put some rules in place where animals imported from other countries should be tested for a bunch of communicable diseases, brucellosis being one of them,” he said. “Dogs from the warmer climates have all sorts of parasites that we don’t have here and they bring them in and affect our population as well.”

    Plenty of dogs are available for adoption in Canada, Ashburner said, adding rescued animals can be traumatized after long trips and bring with them behavioural problems people may not expect.

    The Canadian Food Inspection Agency establishes requirements for animals such as dogs coming into the country.

    It said dogs that are less than eight months old are inspected by its veterinarians at borders and older dogs are inspected by Canada Border Service Agency officers, who also review the animals’ certificates, such as those listing any vaccinations.

    “If the CBSA officer has any concerns, such as the animal showing signs of illness or incomplete/incorrect paperwork, they call a CFIA veterinarian for examination,” the agency said in an email.

    Ashburner said examinations at the border are not comprehensive and current regulations, requiring just a rabies vaccination, have been in place for decades, long before an increase in the number of pets and rescue-dogs being brought to Canada, sometimes with certificates that are bogus.

    “In reality, just from personal experience, there are times when what the paperwork says is not true,” he said, adding while more dogs are being brought to Canada, there are no national statistics on how many are coming in.

    The Public Health Agency of Canada said it acknowledges the global movement of animals, including dogs, can facilitate the spread of diseases that can be passed on to people.

    “Educating breeders, importers, rescue organizations and Canadians on both the risks and mitigation measures is important to manage this issue,” it said in an email.

    However, the agency did not respond to questions about whether it plans to consider any policy changes involving potential transmission of diseases to humans.

    Emilia Gordon, a veterinarian and senior manger of animal health with the British Columbia branch of the SPCA, said various groups in the province are trying to create standards of practice for rescued animals.

    “This is really an important issue for Canada,” she said. “I’ve personally seen a number of significant diseases in animals that were rescued from shelters in other countries.”

    “We are increasingly seeing surrender requests for animals who were rescued from other countries and we’ve actually had to set an entire set of protocols and procedures in place to do risk assessments on these animals as they come in,” she said, adding up to five imported animals a week are being brought in to shelters around the province.

    The United States, Mexico and south and central America were the major source countries about five years ago but that changed in the last year, with more dogs coming in from elsewhere in the world, including Asia and Morocco, Gordon said.

    — Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.

     

     

    Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

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    Agriculture

    WATCH: Unreserved Auction June 15 – Stunning property just west of Rimbey- Open House this Saturday 1-4 pm

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  • The owners have enjoyed The Oneday Ranch for many years, developed it with sweat, passion, expertise, and a whole lot of money! Now they are SELLING IT ALL! Please join them at this Giant UNRESERVED auction Saturday, June 15th.  There will be open houses on Saturday, May 25th and Sunday, June 2nd from 1 to 4 PM.

    Details: Selling the NW 1/4 35-42-5 W5M

    The land is 157 acres of picturesque countryside. It has limitless possibilities – a Guest Ranch, Private Parties, Camps, Hobby Farm, Dude Ranch…or keep it simply for your own use. It sells with Several Fully Furnished Cabins, a Saloon with a Covered Beer Garden, Entertainment Stage, Large Shop with Living Quarters, a Furnished 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath Home, Quad & Walking Trails, a Horse Barn with a Heated Tack Room, tons of antiques and So Much More!
    This property holds much promise for an entrepreneur or simply for those just wanting a unique and interesting place to call home.
    Oneday Ranch 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 2 3 4 5 6 1
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    A once in a lifetime opportunity to buy an amazing piece of property!
    Here are some key points:
    -10 km of groomed trails through beautiful treed land
    -Set up for horses for trail rides with lots of parking
    and space for trailers and accommodation for riders
    -Abundance of wild life, Moose, Whitetail deer and Elk
    -Work from home
    -Big shop space with two 16’x16′ doors, 40’x40′ Shop/living quarters with in floor heat
    -Big 60’x 56′ building c/w heated tack room
    -20 acres of hay/pasture
    -quarter section has “like-new” fencing
    -There is room and existing roadways for additional RV camp ground
    – No pipelines and no oil leases on this 1/4
    -Very nice insulated cabin at the back of the quarter on a separate 50 acre title with room for campers to enjoy
    -No mud on main yard roads, pathways or parking areas and there is geo-textile matting under all gravel
    -Roof water from all buildings is directed underground to pond
    -Ponoka County Admin are very helpful and fantastic to deal with
    Property sell as 2 separate titles, one property being just over 100 acres and sells with all the buildings, the balance of the land being approximately 50 acres and sells as second parcel. Both titles will be sold as one unit.
    Located 27 km west of Rimbey on Hwy 63 and north 2 miles on Rg Rd 52. Then turn right and it’s the first place on the right.
    Open Houses: May 25, 2019 & June 2nd, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. or by Appointment.
    Unreserved Auction will be held Saturday, June 15th starting at 10 AM.  Everything must go as the owners are moving overseas.
    Owner’s Phone Number: (403) 598-0095
    Allen B. Olson: (403) 783-0556
    For more information click here
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    Agriculture

    Conservatives urge Liberals to expedite promised relief for canola farmers

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  • OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives said Thursday they’re hearing from frustrated canola producers who are still waiting for financial relief recently promised by the Liberal government.

    Canola producers are expressing concern about funding promised three weeks ago that can’t be accessed, Tory shadow minister for agriculture Luc Berthold said in a letter to Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.

    “My colleagues and I have heard from a number of canola producers who have been told by the Canadian Canola Growers Association that the enhancements promised by you three weeks ago are not yet available,” he wrote.

    The time period is “like an eternity” for canola producers under the current circumstances, Berthold added, suggesting the government needs to fix the situation immediately. 

    “Minister, it is irresponsible for you to make an announcement and not be able to follow through in a timely manner,” Berthold wrote. “It is unacceptable that the only concrete measure that your government has taken to help canola producers is stalled.”

    Earlier this month, the federal Liberals promised financial aid to canola farmers in an attempt to lessen the impact of China’s decision to ban their products as an apparent part of a trade dispute.

    The announcement changed a program that advances farmers money against the expected value of their crops, raising loan limits to $1 million from $400,000 and upping an interest-free portion to $500,000 from $100,000.

    In a statement, Bibeau did not specifically respond to the concern about delays in the loan program but she stressed the government is working hard to address the canola issue along with farmers and industry.

    “We know that Canada has the best canola in the world and we are providing support to our farmers to help them manage the impact of current market disruptions,” she said.

    China has rejected Canadian canola seeds in recent months and barred shipments from two of Canada’s biggest exporters in what is considered retaliation for the detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

    Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has called for the Liberals to take a more confrontational approach with China, suggesting Canada needs to appoint a new ambassador, launch a complaint about the canola dispute with the World Trade Organization and cut Canadian funding to China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, to which the government has committed $256 million over five years.

    International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr has said there is agreement across the sector, including with provincial governments and producers, that Canada should engage China on the basis of its allegation, which is that there are impurities in canola that has been sent by Canada to China. Canadian requests for evidence have produced no meaningful replies, the government says, and inspections in Canada have found no evidence of contamination.

    China imported $2.7 billion worth of Canadian canola seed last year and there are concerns that a prolonged blockage will hurt farmers, the industry and the overall economy.

    —Follow @kkirkup on Twitter

    Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

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