The Canadian beef industry breathed a collective sigh of relief to learn a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine bank is on the horizon.
As part of the 2023 Federal Budget, $57.5 million over five years was designated to create the FMD vaccine bank within the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and to develop an emergency response plan.
“While we hope this vaccine bank is never needed, we are grateful for today’s investment and its establishment,” said Canadian Cattle Association (CCA) President Nathan Phinney in a March 28 press release.
“We appreciate the Government listening to our concerns and understanding the critical need to put in place emergency preparedness plans to control the spread of the disease and protect our export markets for Canadian beef.”
With outbreaks of the disease in countries in Africa and Asia, reducing the impact of a potential outbreak is a key priority for the Canadian livestock sector. A widespread outbreak would have an estimated $65 billion impact on Canada’s GDP, according to CCA.
Alberta Beef Producers, along with our partners at the national level and other provincial beef organizations, has advocated for a federally funded FMD vaccine bank for several years. The limitations of the existing North American vaccine bank have been highlighted by many, with its supply deemed insufficient in the event of an outbreak in Canada.
Among the people who worked hard to bring this issue to the forefront were past ABP Chair Dr. Melanie Wowk and ABP Director Miles Wowk, who is a past chair of CCA’s Animal Health Committee.
ABP would like to thank the Wowks for their commitment to championing this priority, as well as Minister Nate Horner and Deputy Minister Jason Hale, Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation, for their support of the beef industry and their efforts in bringing attention to this issue.
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