Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 27, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Anthrax kills eight cattle on ranch northeast of Brooks By D'ARCY RICKARD Herald District Editor BROOKS Anthrax has killed nine head of cattle on the B-Bar-B ranch in the Big Stone district, 70 miles northeast of here. The first animal died July 8 and the other eight over the ensuing four weeks. It is the second time in less than a year anthrax has been reported in this southeastern Alberta region. Three cases of the disease were identified at Rainier in 1973. The ranch, 25 miles south of Youngstown, is run by Roy Hamilton, who owns it with Tom Wig. They've lost nine mature Hereford cows Their calves weren't affected and now the balance of their 280 head have been vac- cinated. When Mr. Hamilton found the first dead animal in early July he guessed it was weed poisoning. "I moved them out of the field right he said today. "But a few days later there was another dead animal and a week later a couple more died." Alarmed, he contacted a veterinarian who passed on the word to Wayne Wickert of Brooks, resident veterinarian with the federal health of animals branch. Dr. Wickert came to the B-Bar-B took blood samples and an ear from one of the dead animals and sent them to the federal animal disease research institute in Lethbridge. When the diagnosis of anthrax returned the clean-up began immediately. the carcasses were buried where the animals died. They were put in graves nine feet down and covered with lime. A fire barrier was thrown up around each site and it was burned over. Then each site was fenced off permanently. Corrals were built on the range and the B- Bar-B cattle were herded into them. Vaccina- tion began Aug. 16 and the last of the 230 head were finished a week later. Twenty-seven horses and the ranch dog also received vaccinations. Anthrax is one of the oldest-known diseases in the world, according to Dr. Wickert. It is transmitted by spores that can remain dor- mant in the ground for decades. "It has been proven that spores in alkaline sloughs for 30 said Dr. Wickert. "That is why it is such a danger in the Eastern Irrigation District." The bacterial infection is highly contagious, quickly infecting the body and resulting in rapid death. If discovered in time, the infec- tion can be treated with antibiotics, ac- cording to Dr. Wickert. The big question now is the source of the infection. There is speculation that the dis- ease may have been brought into the area from Wood Buffalo National Park by water fowl. Incidence of anthrax is considered high in the park. The birds may have picked up contaminated mud on their feet and feathers and dropped it off here. The anthrax spores will not germinate in the body of a water fowl. Dr. Wickert said it has been found that earthworms have carried anthrax spores to the surface from the remains of buffalo that died of the disease possibly a century before. An oil company has plans to construct a pipeline through the ranch. "This presents a serious hazard because of the possible spreading of according to Dr. Wickert. About a year ago three cows died at Rainier and tests at the Lethbridge Institute revealed cause of death was anthrax. There were reports of anthrax deaths among cattle near Consort, some 70 miles northeast of the ranch, in the early 1960s. Milk pricing by formula urged on PUB By RIC SWIHART Herald Staff Writer RED DEER Producer, processor, retail and con- sumer representatives Mon- day backed a principle of for- mula milk pricing before an inquiry of the Alberta Public Utilities Board. A formula pricing system would allow rapid price changes for milk at the retail level to reflect fluctuating cost of production changes at the producer level The for- mula would add stability to producer incomes, allowing retail milk prices to move up or down, according to the changes in the formula com- ponents. Under present conditions, complete industry briefs must be presented to a scheduled PUB hearing with a possible price increase announced later. Producers have com- plained that by the time the price increase has been put into effect, inflation and increased costs gobbled up the board award Six briefs were heard at the hearing favoring the system Only Calgary Mayor Rod Sykes remained in strict op- position. Mayor Sykes' brief was read into the record by PUB chairman William Abercrorn- bie of Edmonton. The main objection centred on the possibility of pricing milk out of reach of families on assistance, families not represented by strong unions and the elderly if retail prices were allowed to be set by "changing economic con- ditions" at the farm level. Mayor Sykes continued his accusation that the PUB is too sympathetic to the problems of the milk producing and dis- tributing industries, allowing price increases without ade- quate justification for the re- quests Mayor Sykes claimed a for- mula pricing system would eliminate entirely the pressurre on industry to justi- fy price increase requests. K D Porter of Edmonton, economist with the Alberta department of agriculture and chief author of a guideline for formula pricing for this province, outlined eight main criteria for milk price changes, all worked into the formula according to impor- tance. His formula criteria con- tained four aspects which used demand factors and four aspects which used supply fac- tors to determine the minimum sale price for milk. He based his study on a sur- vey of 20 dairy farms 10 in Edmonton area, eight in Calgary and two in Lethbridge Mr. Porter stated four ad- vantages to formula pricing, including automatic price changes, changes which reflect the influences of supp- ly and demand, fewer public hearings on milk price changes and equality for con- sumer and producer in that prices can change upward or downward according to con- ditions. Mr. Porter said when producers or consumers con- sider the formula prices are out of line, they can request a public hearing He stressed the formula is strictly a guide to milk prices. Under his list of recommen- dations for formula pricing. Mr Porter said the PUB should continue to be the final body of reference in making price changes. The price of alfalfa hay. one of the eight criteria in the for- mula, should be established through a recognized market place to ensure optimum in- put To further qualify this criteria. Mr Porter suggested the formation of hay grades to properly place the "value of hay in the feeding operation Terry Bocock of Edmonton, president of the Alberta Milk Producers Association, said his group agrees in general with the government proposal. He said for the formula to function properly, an ade- quate base price tor milk must be established In the area, Mr Bocock reaffirmed Mr. Porter's re- quest that the base price of milk be increased to a minimum of 25 per hundred pounds from 80. Since a price increase of 30 cents per hundred pounds reflects a one cent increase for one quart of milk on the retail level, the increased base price would mean a consumer price increase of 1'a cents per quart Mr Bocock said 25 per hundred pounds is the price requested from the PUB in August. 1973. a price now considered underestimated at the time. To further escape the time lag between the request for a price increase and the actual implementation of the increase, Mr Bocock suggested farmers should receive 19 cents per hundred pounds more than the formula calls for. This would ensure farmers of a profit picture all the time. J. E Wiebe, chairman of the policy liaison secretariat (or the Alberta department of agriculture, agreed with Mr. Bocock, claiming the cost price squeeze will remain a relevant issue in making production decisions. Dr. Wiebe said the request lor a base price of per hundred pounds is .far below what is really needed because of skyrocketing labor costs in the dairy industry. He said the base price should reflect the 16 per cent higher labor costs in the dairy industry to keep the farmer in pace with the construction in- dustry. Dr Wiebe said a 16 per cent increase would drive the base price to per hundred pounds. If the base price were established at this level, the consumer milk price would have to increase cents per quart from present prices. Dr. Wiebe said the lack of protit in the dairy industry has kept new producers from entering the business and increased profits is the only way, to ensure adequate stocks of milk in the future. M. C. Rodney of Edmonton, a lawyer representing Canada Safeway Ltd., said his client endorsed the adoption by the PUB of a formula pricing system for producers providing it accurately reflects the increases or decreases in production costs. He said any pricing system Decision may come shortly RED DEER A deci- sion to institute formula milk pricing and a price increase can be made by the Alberta Public Utilities Board in the "very near future Fred Trofanenko, one of three members of the board, told The Herald during a break into an in- quiry (or formula milk pricing here Monday the decision about a price increase and the formula should be made soon because producers are anxious for a ruling He said if the board refuses the price increase request now. the producers will im- mediately seek a full public hearing to request an increase The board is also to sit in Red Deer Wednesday to hear a request from Alberta dairies for a price increase. The dairies claim a recent labor contract settlement has put them in an un- economic position and more monev is needed which allows the producer to keep abreast with increasing production costs must be in the best interests of the producer and consumer. Mr. Rodney said the time lag between any producer price increase or decrease and the consumer price should be minimized. Terry McMahon, a Calgary lawyer representing Northern Alberta Dairy Pool, Central Alberta Dairy Pool, Palm Dairies Limited and Silverwood Dairies Limited, agreed, claiming any producer price increase or decrease should be passed on immediately to the processor distributor group Mr. McMahon said any cost increase indicated by formula should not result in an increase in the producer price until it reaches a level which will permit it to be translated entirely into a matching change in the minimum retail and wholesale prices. This stand was prompted in part by a PUB price increase award at the producer level last year which was more than the price change allowed at the wholesale level. The dairies would have had to withstand the difference if the PUB hadn't increased the wholesale milk price to ab- sorb the producer price increase R. W Wright, an economist with the University of Calgary, agreed in principle with a formula pricing system for milk but disagreed with the methods used to arrive at the guide prepared by the provincial government. Mr. Wright, representing the Alberta department of consumer affairs, said all in- puts to a formula for pricing milk should reflect only production costs. SECOND SECTION The Lethbridge Herald Lethbridge, Alberta, Tuesday, August 27, 1974 Pages 13-24 WALTER KERBER photo Mechanized maw As the harvest proceeds across Southern Alberta, combines and swathers are common sights in rural areas. Jim Chizmazia, whose farm borders the city, combines barley near the Park Meadows subdivision. Council postpones campground decision Councillors too busy to pilot wheelchairs City council members turn- ed down an invitation Monday to spend a day in a wheelchair, saying they're just too busy and can't afford the time. Council unanimously approved a resolution from Aid. Vera Ferguson that read in part: "due to their limited free time, no council member will be able to spend a day in a wheelchair, but rest assured that council members are sen- sitive to the hardships of the disabled and the elderly." Aid. Ed Bastedo then assured a small group of han- Toastmaster calls hike, bread prices pop up in Lethbridge markets The price of a 20 ounce loaf of bread increased by two to five cents at most city retail outlets today. The increases followed an announcement Monday by McGavin Toastmaster of a boost of two cents in the wholesale cost of its bread, raising its basic bread price to 34 cents a loaf. Major food outlets in the city also increased their retail prices on Toastmaster bread by two cents a loaf, but some smaller food outlets have increased prices by as much as five cents a loaf and are now charging as much as 41 cents for the 20 ounce loaf. Most local bakers have increased their basic price of bread by three cents. Others are expected to follow suit this week. Most local bakers cited sharp increases in the cost of materials as causing the price increase. dicapped residents who made the difficult trip to council chambers by wheelchair, that he was particularly sensitive to their problems because he once spent four months in a wheelchair in Vancouver. "I know very well what you go he said. The suggestion that spending a day in a wheelchair would help council members see society as the disabled see it was made by Frank Merkl, chairman of Disabled on the Move and an alderman can- didate on behalf of the Lethbridge Aid for Disabled and Elderly Citizens. He also asked that some of the city's recently granted a year transportation money be used for transporta- tion facilities for the han- dicapped, and that sidewalks downtown be constructed with ramps on them. No mention was made of the latter request, but the council resolution said the transporta- tion recommendation is already "under advisement." By ANDY OGLE Herald Staff Writer A decision on campground development in the city will be delayed until the provincial government rules on use of the land proposed for a new campground City council Monday tabled a resolution calling to support in principal of private enterprise involvement in developing a campground at the Highway 3 West site on the Oldman River The province gave the 18- acre site to the city in 1971. but stipulated that it could not be used for private gain The city has asked if this provision could be waived if the land was leased for a trailer park campground operation, but has not yet received a reply. Aid. Steve Kotch proposed adoption in principle of the private enterprise approach saying he preferred it to the alternative of city develop- ment of a river valley campground But Aid. Vera Ferguson said there was little point in adopting it in principle without more discussion which couldn't come until the province had ruled on the matter. "I am more and more of the opinion that if private enterprise wants to do it, then private enterprise should pay the whole shot rather than be- ing subsidized by the city." she said. The alternatives outlined in a report before council from its director of business development included city development of a 50 stall campground, or private enterprise involvement with the city paying half the es- timated cost of putting in services to the site. The suggestion was also made in the report that if the city puts in the campground, it phase out the Lake campground in five years, but if a private developer became involved, he would be offered operation of the Henderson Lake campground as well. Schoolyard site plan said needed West Lethbridge develop- ment has now reached a stage where serious planning of school sites is necessary, the public school board will -be in- formed when it meets today. The city planning 'depart- ment has asked the two city school boards for advice concerning the placement of school sites in West Lethbridge and the separate school board has requested a meeting be held to discuss the. matter further with represen- tatives from all three groups. Mortgage squeeze hurts west side project "It may be a drop in the bucket, but it's our responsibility to say something." said Aid. Vera Ferguson Monday as city council approved a resolution expressing concern about the lack of mortgage money for housing. The resolution will be sent to Prime Minister Treudeau, Premier Lougheed, the ministers responsible for housing at both levels of govern- ment and major cities across the country It came as council approved another batch of requests for exten- sion of options on lots purchased from the city, most of them in West Lethbridge. The resolution notes that the city and government agencies have spent or plan to spend 5 million in West Lethbridge to provide land at a reasonable cost. It also says the senior governments have provided incen- tives to promote industry and create a larger work force in Lethbridge, thereby creating the need for more housing. The lack of mortgage money is imposing hardships on municipalities as well as prospec- tive homeowners, the resolution says "Every week we get a longer list of people unable to meet their building commitment because they're unable to get mortgage money." said Aid. Ferguson. "This particular problem is becoming Mayor Andy Anderson said. Council is allowing extension of west side options to Dec. 31. with payment of another down.