The owners of RJ Game Farm located near Fairlight in southeastern Saskatchewan fear for the health of their 1400 bison and the future of their operation. The fear comes from a neighbouring farm that has moved 300 sheep onto land not far from the bison. Sheep are considered natural hosts for a virus called MCF, malignant catarrhal fever. According to information assembled by RJ Game Farm, bison are extremely susceptible to the virus and once infected almost invariably suffer and die. They quote experts who say that a buffer of three kilometers is needed to keep bison safe. There’s a lot of land in Saskatchewan and there aren’t that many bison operations and there certainly aren’t that many sheep farms. You’d think keeping separation between the two wouldn’t be that tough. Unfortunately, in this case, the two neighbours have not been able to reach a resolution. Apparently, the Saskatchewan Agricultural Operations Review Board can’t take action, so the bison producers have released a plea to politicians to step in and make some rules. If the MCF virus is as problematic as claimed, bison producers do need protection from the possibility of sheep operations being established nearby.
I’m Kevin Hursh.
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