After the discovery of the first positive case in mid-September, the company slaughtered its last animal on Tuesday, according to Denis Ferrer, director of Les Cerfs de Boileau, a subsidiary of Fermes Harpur, in the Laurentians.
Next year would be 25 years old, we had a very good reputation in terms of cateringhe said.
It’s still 25 years of effort, a good reputation, an end so brutal, so quick, is out of our plans, we even plan to build a fourth farm.
The discovery of a case of chronic wasting disease in deer led to an accelerated culling throughout the fall to prevent the disease from spreading among wild white-tailed deer.
” We were set up to do between 70 and 120 cuts a week, but we cut down to 400, even 500 a week. We had to freeze some. »
Mr. Ferrer initially thought he could save part of the herd, but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency declined this option. A request was also made to preserve the semen of some of the deer, which was also refused by the Agency.
In fact, we don’t really know why it was turned down. It was mainly to possibly preserve this genetics, it’s exceptional genetics in the deer world, everyone had heard of uslamented the creator.
” I’m not sure if from a scientific point of view the research is advanced enough to know what happened and could cause any problems to save seeds, it’s quite difficult not to actually have any results that have been found. »
A total of 11 animals carrying the disease have been detected since the beginning of the crisis. According to Mr. Ferrer, who still doesn’t understand how the disease could have entered his farm, the infected animals were all in the same pen.
The slaughterhouse threatened with closure
The deer’s chronic wasting disease also seriously threatens the profitability of operations at the region’s only major slaughterhouse, Meats of the Petite Nation, which is also owned by Mr. Ferrer.
For the latter, the operation of the slaughterhouse and its cutting room would simply not be more profitable if he had to slaughter only the animals sent by the other breeders.
A slaughterhouse has to have a certain volume to be profitable. If they take away our main activity, we have to find something to replace that, which will be the steps for the next few months, to find something that allows us to continue operating.argued Mr. Ferrer.
Measures to contain the spread of the disease
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will present a decontamination plan to the owner of Harpur Farms in January, which is expected to begin in the spring.
The next step will be to present a decontamination plan to the producer so that he can disinfect the premises, thus eliminating the waste that is contaminated, the places that cannot be washed and then disinfected. Soil will be scraped off – about 10 cm of soil that needs to be removed will be sent to a landfillexplained CFIA veterinarian El Mehdi Haddou.
” The whole place does not represent the same risk, we will be more demanding in the places where the sick animals resided. »
Asked about the preservation of deer semen, the CFIA veterinarian explained that there is precedent in the matter.
We really manage the risk. There is a scientific study, they found prions in the semen of animals with the disease. Having this information, we cannot allow this semen to remain in circulation, as the herd is positive.said Mr. Haddou.
The Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (MFFP) continued throughout the autumn the analysis of wild deer that were around the breeding farm.
Ministry officials culled 535 wild deer in the Controlled Response Zone to see if the disease had spread outside the ranch. No cases of chronic wasting disease were detected in wild deer.
It will be a few years before we get back to seeing a population as it was before all this happened, but for the department, this is not necessarily a source of concern, but obviously, we’re going to have to give nature some time.explained Nicolas Bégin, spokesman for the MFFP.
” We did not do this operation lightly, but it was necessary. It was the only way to validate whether the disease had spread in wildlife. »
The ministry acknowledged that it would be difficult to eradicate the disease once introduced into wildlife.