Nova Scotia

Cape Breton nursing home told livestock not allowed to visit

After seven happy visits, a Cape Breton farmer has been denied permission to bring his newborn farm animals to a nursing home in Baddeck.

Alderwood in Baddeck told by province that annual animal visits can't continue

Two residents of the Alderwood enjoy visiting with a newborn calf and a farm dog last year. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

A Cape Breton farmer has been denied permission to bring his newborn farm animals to a local nursing home.

Brooke Oland of Middle River has been taking his lambs, kids and calves to the Alderwood Guest Home in Baddeck for seven years.

"A lot of smiles, a lot of laughter," he says. "A lot of stories came out. Good fun."

This year, however, the nursing home says it learned that farm animals aren't allowed to visit. Administrator Arlene Morrison says two of Alderwood's managers recently attended an infection control conference put on by the province. 

She says they were told by the Department of Agriculture that farm animals are not permitted in the home, due to the natural presence of salmonella. Morrison says she received confirmation in an email.

Farmer Brooke Oland and one of his Highland cattle. (Courtesy Brooke Oland)

Oland is disheartened: "I'm a little disappointed. I'm more concerned about how this affects people in nursing homes."

He says precautions could be taken to ensure residents with immune deficiencies are protected.

Oland says the decision raises larger concerns, such as an unhealthy disconnect from nature, and perpetuates a fear of animals.

"Some day I might be in a home, and I'd just as soon be in one that brought lambs in, rather than trying to protect me with plastic wrap," he said.

Sorry, no more nursing home visits. (Courtesy Brooke Oland)