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B.C. agricultural sector updates recommendations for animal welfare

Province offers student subsidies, recommends a staff of investigators to enforce best practices
The province is investing in new veterinarians and enforcement of animal welfare. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot)

The government of British Columbia updated its recommendations to secure the health and welfare of farm animals in the province on Thursday, May 9. One of the biggest recommendations was that the ministry of agriculture hire a group of officers to investigate cruelty to animals.

On Thursday, during a meeting of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako agricultural committee, director Mark Parker suggested that new hires for the regional district should have ranching and farming backgrounds.

The recommendation for an investigative staff comes during a veterinarian shortage that the Society of British Columbia Veterinarians predicted for several years.

In March of 2023, the province doubled the number of subsidized seats for students attending the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) at the University of Saskatchewan. An investment of $21.8 million over three years is intended to increase the number of students studying veterinary medicine from 20 to 40.

In March, the province announced a pilot program to subsidize farmers and ranchers who hire veterinary students. The pilot offers up to $6,000 per placement to help with wages and travel costs that could bring up to 50 new students to British Columbia in 2024.

The government of British Columbia published several other animal welfare recommendations on Thursday. These included raising awareness of the challenges facing the agricultural industry and production practices that improve animal welfare.

British Columbia’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act) has some of the toughest penalties in Canada.

READ MORE: RDBN keeps pressuring for more seats at veterinary school