Manitoba ranchers want livestock theft protection

Manitoba ranchers want livestock theft protection
Feb 15, 2024

The province doesn’t have a provincial cattle inspection service

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Manitoba cattle producers want a public protective service available for livestock crimes.

That’s one of the resolutions members of Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) debated and passed during its annual general meeting on Feb. 8 and 9.

Manitoba is the only province in Western Canada without a Livestock Investigations Unit and a dedicated RCMP officer to investigate livestock theft and fraud.

Without those safeguards in place in Manitoba, criminals are finding ways to commit livestock related crimes.

“It could be paper cattle, fake cattle being recorded and not inspected, or actual physical cattle theft, which happens unfortunately,” Carson Callum, general manager of MBP, told the Brandon Sun. “They might take (cattle) and if they take it to a sale barn or auction mart that doesn’t have inspection services, it doesn’t matter about the brand, or it doesn’t matter about any identification, because whoever brought it is selling him, right? And then they’ll get the dollars for it, and that’s what makes it a challenge and an issue in the sector.”

Alberta has two, and B.C. and Saskatchewan have one livestock investigator each.

Corporal Owen Third, an RCMP veteran with almost 20 years of experience, became Saskatchewan’s livestock investigator in October 2022.

He works with Livestock Services of Saskatchewan, a nonprofit organization that provides livestock inspection and identification services.

Manitoba doesn’t have a service like this either.

In March 2023, Third and his colleagues from Alberta recovered 10 head of cattle stolen worth more than $25,000.

The cattle were taken from Thorhild, Alta. to a pasture near Martensville, Sask.

Under the section 338(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada, anyone found guilty of cattle theft faces up to 10 years in prison.

Manitoba Beef Producers has been working on securing the creation of a Livestock Investigations Unit for the last few years.

The organization’s 2023 annual report outlines that the organization has approached the provincial government about creating this unit.

“Such a unit would be staffed by a dedicated RCMP officer with livestock industry knowledge who could assist in investigating sector-specific crimes,” the report says. has contacted the provincial government for an update into creating a Livestock Investigations Unit in Manitoba.

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