Generating more than $5.2 billion in direct sales annually (not including value added or further processing), the livestock industry is an important contributor to the strength of Ontario’s economy.
One of the challenges with raising livestock in rural and remote areas is predation by wildlife.
The Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program compensates producers for livestock losses incurred as a result of predation. Municipalities appoint Livestock Valuers to inspect and prepare a report on any livestock losses from wildlife. In unincorporated areas of Ontario, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Agriculture Development Advisors do this.
In preparation for making a claim, producers are encouraged to:
- provide photographic evidence that demonstrate predation and not simply scavenging. Producers should take photos as soon as possible after finding a carcass. Photos of the animal, its wounds and the area around the carcass should be taken and provided to the Livestock Valuer when investigating a claim.
- Protect the carcass from scavenging and deterioration from the elements. This may involve putting a tarp over the carcass and lime on and around the scene to dissuade animals from scavenging. Do not move the carcass. If there is no carcass present, a claim can’t be made. No body, no crime.
- Know the age and the estimated weight of each animal.
- Understand the market value of the livestock and where this value was obtained (e.g. Beef Farmers of Ontario market report, sales barn receipt, individual producer sales receipt).
Having this information available allows the report to be processed in a timely manner.
Producers must also demonstrate that reasonable care is being taken to guard the animals from predation. OMAFRA Agriculture Development Advisors (ADAs) work with producers and municipalities to reduce the risk of predation by providing information on options such as: the use of guard dogs, perimeter fencing, and lighting.
The contribution of livestock producers to Ontario’s economy is significant. The Ontario Wildlife Compensation Program allows producers to farm with the confidence that if the unfortunate loss of an animal happens from wildlife attacks, society assists in sharing the loss.