B.C. is already facing an extreme wildfire season in 2021, and the Province is urging ranchers and livestock operators to register their livestock with the Premises Identification (ID) program.
During the devastating wildfire season of 2017, the program helped about 200 ranchers access their animals in zones where evacuation orders were in place, and saved the lives of hundreds of animals. There are already several evacuation orders throughout the region, as wildfire season has come early.
“We experienced the hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada last week, the forests are dry, and the risk of wildfires is very, very real,” says Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. “Having a Premises ID helped B.C. ranchers protect their animals during the intense wildfires of 2017 and 2018, and it could help this year too.”
Ranchers who have a Premises ID number are in a better position to respond to emergencies that could impact them and their livestock. They can be given direct notice of approaching extreme weather events that could threaten their animals and land, and using their Premises ID can make it easier to arrange for access to check on their animals in areas under an evacuation order.
The program is available at no cost through a user-friendly online registration system, available at http://bit.ly/2HwTA7m. People are encouraged to register land where animals are kept, handled, assembled, or disposed of. About two-thirds of livestock producers (5,200) and 100 per cent of supply-managed (i.e., dairy cattle and poultry) livestock premises are currently registered in the program.
This will likely be the last year that participation in the Premises ID program is voluntary. A new Premises ID regulation under the B.C. Animal Health Act is anticipated to be in place in 2022.