After news yesterday that the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) and Teamsters Canada Rail Conference were unable to reach an agreement, Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) is calling on the provincial government to demand action from the Government of Canada.
Producers are expressing serious concern over the impacts a work stoppage will have on the welfare of animals.
“We’re here now. The countdown is on as producers are unable to bring in feed and begin to deplete stored feed. We are less than two weeks away from not being able to feed our animals,” says Dr. Melanie Wowk, ABP Chair.
ABP is asking Premier Jason Kenney to urgently and repeatedly request that the federal government immediately declare rail services essential and invoke ‘back to work’ legislation, until the message is heard.
“This adds another unknown level of risk to an already devastating year. Like most producers, we operate on very small margins and this work stoppage could have detrimental impacts that are out of our control,” says Brodie Haugan, rancher and ABP Finance Chair.
Last year’s drought was responsible for significant local crop failure, leaving the livestock industry dependent on feed shipments from the United States.
“We’ve been dealing with widespread feed shortages throughout the province and across the country. Producers will once again be forced into an impossible situation if we’re unable to ship feed in for our animals,” says Wowk.
Cattle producers are reliant on rail transport for access to feed, and need the government to take urgent action to resume CP Rail operations immediately.