The intent of the legislation is to put in place both the necessary infrastructure and traceability systems that are designed to increase the capability of a rapid response in relation to threats of disease outbreaks affecting animal health, public health, food safety and market access. The Chief Provincial Veterinarian of Alberta (CPV) is given authority to play a lead role in animal disease response.
The Act puts the onus on an owner of an animal or authorized person to advise the CPV of suspected or confirmed reportable or notifiable diseases within 24 hours. “Reportable diseases” refers to diseases that are threats to animal health, public health, food safety, and the economic interests of the animal industry. They require some type of response to control or eradicate. “Notifiable diseases” do not require control actions but are important to monitor for changes or unusual trends.
Response mechanisms are designed to control the spread of disease through the use of a variety of strategies, including conducting inspections and surveillance, ordering treatments, implementing biosecurity measures, as well as establishing quarantines, surveillance zones and control areas. If necessary, the CPV may order the destruction of diseased animals, or animals, animal products or by-products or property that has been contaminated as a result of coming into contact with a diseased animal or a disease causing agent. Dead animals may also be exhumed and examined if suspected to have died from a reportable disease.
The Act also facilitates the licensing of lay outlets that sell production animal medicines and livestock markets and livestock assembling stations.
The Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian administers the Animal Health Act and its regulations. Regulatory Services Division enforces the regulations.