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  Ontario Deer & Elk Farmer's Association convention report
By Craig Richardson - Animal Care Specialist, Perth

I attended this conference on March 12th & 13th at Guelph. Some of the Animal Care Issues discussed were:

Canadian Venison Council (CVC) reported on their sponsored research project on velvet antler removal. " Electro Analgesia is an adequate method of analgesia for velvet removal, at least equal in efficacy to techniques using injected Lidocaine. "

U.S. Canada Movement Protocol has moved to the Permit Development stage. Soon elk and deer will be able to move across the border both ways.

The CVC has stated it's opposition to the capture of wild elk to stock Manitoba elk farms. The Manitoba government plans on reducing the number of wild elk destroying farmer's crops and populating the recently approved Manitoba elk farming industry.

Concern about the TB testing policy. CVC feels zoo animals may carry foreign animal diseases and wants mandatory post mortems done on all animals that die at a zoo. They believe zoo animals should not be allowed onto cervid farms.

Ontario White-tailed Deer Producers Association have developed a doe urine collection business for the hunt scent market. They are disappointed that Ministry of Natural Resources new Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act does not allow for hunt farms for native species e.g.. White-tail deer and elk ( wild boar can be hunted on farms ). Trophy bucks are being shipped from the prairie provinces to Michigan and Ontario producers are looking at setting up hunt farms in Quebec for their trophy bucks. A lobbyist has been hired to try and change the government's stand on hunt farms.

Dr. Ian Barker , pathologist at the Ontario Veterinary College called for an effective mandatory identification inventory system for farmed cervids in Ontario to look for and stop the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) . A surveillance program should be established to determine the CWD status of our wild deer population. Dr. Barker related how CWD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) and it's relationship to BSE in cattle. In order to obtain public confidence in farmed cervid products he believes these strong measures must be taken. Farmed cervids in other jurisdictions have on rare occasions been found to have the untreatable CWD and culling of animals was required. Dr. Barker feels we must now operate with a default assumption of possible hazard rather than one of assumption of safety.



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