by Isabel Mosseler
The West Nipissing - Sudbury East Federation of Agriculture (WN/SEFA) has taken a step towards making life simpler for area farmers and veterinarians by purchasing a TUFF portable cattle squeeze. The group took proud possession and set up the mobile device at the farm of Omer Lavergne in Sturgeon Falls on August 12. The purchase was made in partnership with Springer Animal Hospital and Creative Meats, a local butcher and processing plant. Madeleine Beaudry, President of the WN/SEFA, explained that the squeeze reduces the stress cattle experience while undergoing veterinary procedures and tagging. It also makes things a lot safer for the vet when delivering any treatments. The entire system, weighing 5,500 lbs, can easily be hauled from farm to farm behind a pick-up truck, and will also prove useful for emergency situations, such as a fire or accident in which cattle need to be moved quickly and safely.
“This is a mobile unit,” explained Beaudry on the Monday evening when the executive of the local OFA chapter took the opportunity to examine the system. The structure lifts, the wheels are inserted into a bar lock, and “she’s ready to go!,” she laughed. One end is curved with panel slides to prevent the cattle from backing out, while the other end holds the cattle secure.
One of the reasons the WN/SEFA decided to make the purchase was to retain the local large animal vets, and as an inducement for other veterinarians to locate in West Nipissing. “Back when we were applying for the grant, there was an article [regarding] the death of a large animal veterinarian. If a community does not have the facility to accommodate the large animal veterinarian, you’re just not going to get one. Additionally, regulations now stipulate that cows going to an abattoir must be tagged. The tagging stations are controlled, so the closest tagging station is in New Liskeard.” Beaudry explained that if there is no way to tag on the farm, the farmer has to load the cows, travel with them to New Liskeard for a quick turn around, get the tag, get back on the trailer, and drive the cattle to Hagar. With this equipment, which cost $20,000, area farmers now have a way of avoiding the costs and travel time. Funding for the purchase came through the Sustainable New Agri-Food Products and Productivity (SNAPP) program, and was dependent on the collaboration of Springer Animal Hospital and Creative Meats.
Veterinarian Olivia Stone, owner of Springer Animal Hospital, said “The three of us worked together in cooperation to fill out the application.” The Squeeze will be stored at the farm of Omer Lavergne and rented out to any farmer in the district who needs it. “We’re hoping to offer a fair price to encourage them to use it rather than hold their animals.”
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(Left to right) West Nipissing Sudbury East Federation of Agriculture (WNSEFA) executive member Omer Lavergne, Olivia Stone, large animal veterinarian and owner of Springer Animal Hospital, Gilles Simon, owner of Creative Meats, WNSEFA member Ray Charles, president Madeleine Beaudry, and members Claire Venner and Raymond Vézina say this new portable cattle squeeze will help approximately 200 farmers in the district get their meat to market.
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