Letter to the editor
OSMA and OFA Cooperating on the Removal of Problem Predators
Ontario shepherds are continuing to experience losses from their flocks to predators, primarily coyotes. Three years ago OSMA, the Ontario sheep industry commodity organization, actively participated in an industry wide OFA led task force that brought forward numerous recommendations on ways to provide shepherds and livestock owners with tools to safeguard their flocks and herds from predators. At that time, provincial authorities did not support the proven effective solutions recommended by the task force.
As of yet, the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture are still working toward having these recommendations adopted.
OSMA and OFA remain committed to finding solutions. Recently the OSMA Board assembled an internal team to bring forward facts and details on predation at both the local and the provincial levels including predation related concerns that solely affect the sheep industry. This team is presently gathering details and will meet again in July to summarize and recommend actions for the OSMA Board to consider.
Predators are not only a problem to livestock farmers but also crop farmers, pet owners, pedestrians and citizens at large. Actions must be taken that will allow for the removal or elimination of the problem predators that are destroying or threatening animals, farms profits or humans.
Ontario shepherds are reporting that they are experiencing losses like never before and at a more increased level than the past. OSMA will be continuing to work with organizations that share its commitment to finding effective solutions that allow for the removal of problem predators. Canadian shepherds currently supply 41 per cent of the domestic demand for lamb and have plans to increase their domestic market share. Predation in the sheep industry is not only limiting industry expansion, it is diminishing farm revenue, forcing farmers to put large amounts of revenue into fence building and owning guardian animals and it is exhausting sheep producers’ energies and valued animals. OSMA is interested in hearing from all organizations that also wish to find effective solutions to problem predators.
Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency
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