April 2, 2012, Ottawa: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is working with provincial police to locate sheep that have been removed from a farm currently under a quarantine order. The sheep were quarantined as part of an ongoing scrapie investigation at a farm in Eastern Ontario.
“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is committed to protecting livestock health, and takes the management of animal diseases very seriously,” said Dr. Brian Evans, Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada. “While we recognize that disease control activities can be difficult on producers, the eradication of animal diseases, such as scrapie, is critical to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the sheep industry.”
The sheep are suspected of having scrapie, a fatal disease that affects sheep and goats. While there is no human health risk associated with scrapie, it has serious impacts on sheep and the CFIA aims to eradicate it from Canada. Canada’s approach to confirmed or suspected cases of scrapie is based on internationally accepted science and seeks to minimize disruptions to producers.
Quarantine breaches may put the livestock industry and the economy at risk. Any person who breaches a quarantine may be subject to criminal prosecution under the Health of Animals Act.
Because these animals may pose a risk for scrapie, premises that receive them may be subject to a quarantine and further regulatory action.
“Our organization supports the eradication of scrapie,” said Dr. Paula Menzies, representing the Small Ruminant Veterinarians of Ontario. “Although we sympathize with owners of affected flocks, Canada must deal effectively with this disease.”
In Canada, scrapie is a federally reportable disease. This means that all suspected cases must be immediately reported to the CFIA. Scrapie is also a World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)-listed disease, meaning that Canada has international and trade obligations to respond to suspected cases.
For more information on scrapie