OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 3, 2012) - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) Minister Ron Kostyshyn today announced the appointment of Dr. Allan Preston to help coordinate enhanced bovine tuberculosis (TB) eradication efforts in and around Manitoba's Riding Mountain National Park.
"Our Government is committed to protecting livestock health and to providing Canadian producers with opportunities to market their animals and products," said Minister Ritz. "The appointment of Dr. Preston to lead Riding Mountain TB eradication underscores our commitment to animal health and will facilitate market access, leading to greater exports and increased profits for producers."
Dr. Preston will guide a multi-stakeholder working group to enhance ongoing TB eradication efforts in the area. The working group will include senior officials from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Parks Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, Manitoba Conservation, provincial cattle industry associations, conservation groups and First Nations.
"Our goal as a province is to continue our work with stakeholders in managing TB in livestock herds," said MAFRI Minister Kostyshyn. "Dr. Preston is well known to Manitoba farmers for his extensive experience and he will be a valuable addition to our efforts to detect, eliminate and prevent the spread of this bovine disease."
"We are pleased that governments have taken this important, coordinated step towards the eradication of bovine TB in Manitoba because they recognize the impact the disease is having on both cattle herds and wildlife," said Ray Armbruster, Manitoba Beef Producers president. "We welcome Dr. Preston as Coordinator."
Although progress has been made in managing bovine TB in Riding Mountain in recent years, the disease continues to be endemic in wild deer and elk, posing significant challenges for livestock producers in the area. Many producers are required to have their herds tested for TB periodically, in order to protect animal health and maintain market access.
Dr. Preston is a Manitoba veterinarian, and was formerly the Assistant Deputy Minister of Agri-Industry Development and Innovation Division for Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. He has extensive experience with bovine TB, having represented the Province of Manitoba on previous working groups and task forces.
For more information on bovine TB, visit www.inspection.gc.ca