The federal government has raised the cap on compensation to sheep producers for animals it orders destroyed in a disease outbreak.
As of Wednesday, producers whose non-registered sheep are ordered destroyed "may be eligible" for compensation based on market value of the animals, up to a maximum of $825 per sheep.
The previous maximum per sheep in the Compensation for Destroyed Animals Regulations was $300, set in 2007. "It has since become apparent that the market value was depressed at that time," the government said.
Recent data shows "significant increases" in today’s market prices for hybrid or cross-bred sheep, the government said, which demands an increase in the maximum compensation.
"Adequate compensation is essential in order to encourage the prompt reporting of disease by producers," the government said. Immediate disease reporting, in turn, is "critical" for controlling animal diseases and maintaining market access for live animals and animal products.
The new maximum was set as the result of a "thorough economic analysis" which included consultations with Canada’s major sheep sector associations, and relevant federal departments, all of which "concurred with the findings."
The compensation paid "represents only a portion of the actual cost of a disease outbreak," the government said.
Outbreaks "can have a significant impact on not only the sheep industry, but also the economy in terms of lost market access, peripheral business costs and costs for other levels of government."
In terms of disease outbreaks involving sheep, Canada saw seven confirmed sheep herds infected with scrapie in three provinces in 2011.
Cases so far in 2012 include a case of atypical scrapie in Alberta in January, and a related ongoing investigation in eastern Ontario with one dead sheep confirmed with the disease.
Barnmates of missing Ont. sheep negative for scrapie, May 4, 2012