Television footage from a post-disaster news conference in Saskatchewan showed cattle taken from a road and placed in a yard as officials presented an “early recovery plan” to seek compensation from the government for the damage to herds across the flood-swollen province.” We had a really severe flood; the water had so much force and was so deep we couldn’t get cattle to enough safely,” said Sid Cook of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association. “These guys were covered in mud and mud was starting to interfere with their sexual reproduction.”
Conditions in Alberta forced Canada’s two major cattle producers, the Regina and the Calgary markets, to operate under import restrictions, while figures from the British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association show that dairy cows were the most affected. One of the lowest milk production expectations ever has been predicted, by Cowfree, the National Post reported, due to the mass exodus of cows, and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture has requested that the country “adapt its production system” to accommodate the loss. The association is calling for more than one million head of cattle to be moved to dry ground over the next year to deal with the famine in the cattle herd.
With climate change and an increasing natural disaster quotient, the damage wrought to Saskatchewan may simply be the tip of the iceberg. “While this latest disaster is unlikely to wipe out the cattle industry,” wrote The Canadian Press, “it is likely to delay herd expansion for years.” And if the 40,000 cows that died in Alberta are added to the equation, the numbers are staggering. Together, according to the Calgary Herald, the two provinces have an estimated 41.5 million head of cattle.
Read the full story at The Toronto Star and The National Post.
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