The Animal Health and Care Committee met in Calgary in August 2021 at the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) semi-annual meeting and I have highlighted a few topics of interest from the meeting.
Priority Cattle Health Needs:
The Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) presented on the challenges of market access to veterinary medical health products in Canada. CAHI has reached out to the national species-specific veterinary associations and commodity and producer associations. CAHI will also collect input on barriers to bringing products to Canada from livestock industry organizations. They will work with regulators to lobby for improved processes to bring products to, and maintain products on, the Canadian market.
Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID Adoption Strategy:
CCA representatives, along with representatives from National Cattle Feeders' Association (NCFA) and Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA), met with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) staff to discuss adoption pathways for UHF technology. What is being proposed is UHF tags are sold through the CCIA online store, which will ensure numbering sequencing is managed and tags can be allocated to producers’ accounts. The UHF tags would then be crossed referenced to the existing LF tag and reported to CCIA. From this point on in the production value-chain of the animal, the UHF tag could be read, and movement events reported to CCIA.
CCIA has drafted a funding proposal to make the necessary modifications to the CCIA – CLTS database to accommodate UHF tags.
There was strong support for UHF in the US, and it’s the preferred path for animal ID. One of the challenges identified is to provide clear messaging to the tag manufacturers that there is a market for UHF tags and to encourage the research and development of UHF tags.
There is growing demand for UHF tags, especially at the feedlot level, where the tag is being used as a replacement to the standard feedlot panel tag.
Electronic Logging Devices
Rick Wright from the Livestock Markets Association of Canada (LMAC) provided an update on challenges auction markets are facing regarding cattle transportation. Transporters mentioned issues with new Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations, which mandate the use of Electronic Logging Devices for commercial livestock haulers. The lack of flexibility under the hours of service (HOS) rules are problematic when dealing with emergencies and poor driving conditions. More flexibility is the key to ensure animal welfare can be upheld. Canada also lacks several exemptions that are available to US livestock haulers including the 150-air mile exemption from the departure point of transport. This summer, the US livestock industry lobbied for an additional 150 air-mile radius exemption under HOS regulations to the backend of hauls, which was eventually added under the Surface Transportation Act of 2021. This legislation still needs to be passed by US Senate.