Canada

Bovine TB forces cattle cull in B.C., Alberta

About 470 cattle in British Columbia and Alberta will have to be destroyed after a random test showed a bull that had lived in both provinces had bovine tuberculosis.

About 470 cattle in British Columbia and Alberta will have to be destroyed after a random test showed a bull that had lived in both provinces had bovine tuberculosis.

As many as30farms in the two provinces have been quarantined, although no additional infected animalshave been found, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The CFIA found a bull with the disease at a slaughterhouse in Quebec in August, veterinarian Maria Koller-Jones said.

The agency traced it back to a farm in Vanderhoof, B.C., located 100 kilometres west of Prince George, and then learned the bull was born in Alberta where it spent part of its life.

The B.C. rancher had shippedabout 400 head of cattle to Innisfail, Alta.,and some animals had moved on to another20 other farms in the province.

It's unlikely the infection spread, but in an announcement on its website on Friday, the CFIA said allinfected animals orany that had beenexposed to the disease had to be immediately destroyed.

"This is the only proven way to eliminate the disease," the announcement said.

The owners will be compensated, the agency said.

Bovine tuberculosis can causeweakness, loss of appetite, weight loss and fluctuating fever in animals. It can spread to humans or other mammals through prolonged, close contact.

Thelast case in Canadian cattle was in 2004.

"While Canada's livestock herds are considered to be free from bovine TB, cases such as this one occur from time to time," the CFIA announcement said.

Human infections with Mycobacterium bovis were relatively common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but dairy pasteurization laws and the culling of infected cows has reduced the number of cases.

With files from the Canadian Press

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