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CFIA says no new bovine TB cases have been found in the past month

Agriculture Canada says cheques sent to some ranches under quarantine

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says there have been no new cases of bovine tuberculosis found in the past month, but that doesn't mean the crisis is over.

Six cattle in total have been found with the infectious disease.

About 26,000 cows have been quarantined on 45 ranches in Alberta and five more in southwestern Saskatchewan as food safety inspectors continue to work to determine if the TB has spread.

"The nature of this disease itself means that the investigation will be lengthy and complex,'' CFIA chief veterinary officer Harpreet Kochhar said Thursday.

Around 10,000 of the cattle linked to the infected animals are being slaughtered as a precaution.

Kochhar said arrangements have been made with a second meat processor to help with the slaughter.

He said the investigation is still trying to identify how the disease was introduced into the herd.

"This may lead to more quarantines but this is not a sign the disease is spreading.''

Agriculture Canada said cheques have been sent out to some of the ranchers affected by the quarantine who applied for help through Alberta's Agricultural Financial Services Corporation.

Some ranches have been locked down since October and producers have been seeking help to feed and care for cattle that they usually sell in the fall.

The cost is being shared between the Alberta and federal governments.

``Out of the 20 applications that were submitted, 16 were processed for payment and cheques were made available to producers for pickup at nearby branch offices,'' said Pascale Boulerice, an Agriculture Canada spokesman.

``We urge any remaining, affected ranchers to complete the application as soon as possible to access this funding which will help alleviate some of the cash flow pressures.''

The government will compensate up to $10,000 for a registered animal and $4,500 for a commercial animal. CFIA staff are working with owners to determine fair market value.

People can catch tuberculosis from cattle, though the chances are considered extremely low and there is no indication that the outbreak poses any risk to the public.

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