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SCA members have their say on livestock antibiotic regulations

Associations: News Roundup from the March 2018 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

A short list of resolutions presented at the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (ACA) annual meeting in Saskatoon focused on incoming regulations for antibiotics in livestock and wildfire prevention.

Some members were clearly worried by the new requirements that a vet-client relationship be established before drugs are prescribed for livestock. The meeting agreed that the SCA should be involved in defining the nature of this relationship on behalf of producers in Saskatchewan. Chief veterinarian Betty Althouse noted these new rules are set by the federal government in consultation with the veterinary profession but the members still agreed with the sentiment behind this motion.

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Another motion expressed concerns by producers that all drugs under this new regulation will be priced according to a minimum price schedule set by the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medicine Association. To that end, the SCA was instructed to investigate the possibility of a pharmacy-style retail market to foster competition for livestock drugs.

One motion called for Canadian Agriculture Partnership funding for perimeter fencing on land not used for livestock to encourage farmers to return to cattle or expand their present herds.

Another wanted the province to investigate the use of attractants on pastures. The idea would be to encourage severe grazing and thus lower the fuel load on grazing land. The fact this motion passed in a room full of ranchers offers some idea of the anxiety generated by the horrendous wildfires last fall.

Mark Elford, chair of the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency, put in a plug for cattle producers to order their CCIA ear tags directly from the agency website. The site offers every approved tag and applicator plus tag readers, with the added bonus that revenue raised by the e-store will help offset any added costs the agency faces when traceability comes into force later this year or early next.

“If we could handle 50 per cent of the tags through the e-store I can see that we would never ever have to raise the (management) price of our tags again,” said Elford.

Jason Pollock, the CEO of Livestock Services of Saskatchewan (LSS), came to the meeting looking for producers to test the new electronic data base called CHIP that will run electronic manifests and permits. The CHIP portal gives producers access to the manifests and permits and their own data.

The electronic documents can be created online, doing away with the need for inspectors to transfer the same information from written manifests. It also provides fields to record traceability data plus the identification services that LSS is set up to provide. E-manifests offer access to other approved users so the document can be updated at every stop along the marketing chain.

An app for smart phones is being developed so manifests can be created or updated more easily wherever cell service is available.

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