The Wild Sheep Society of BC (WSSBC) is excited to present an exciting program to help prevent the spread of disease from domestic sheep to wild sheep. For decades wild sheep conservationists have been battling the threat of movi. Working with domestic breeders we are launching a pilot program called “Say NO to Movi.”
What is “Say NO to Movi”?
The Wild Sheep Society of BC Project committee is working with domestic breeders and 4-H organizations to help protect wild sheep from disease. Education, and separation of domestic from wild sheep are two critical paths that have greatly assisted in progress in this challenge. The ultimate goal is to eradicate movi (Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae) from all sheep both domestic and wild.
A number of breeders are willing to work with wild sheep advocates and have agreed to undertake movi-testing programs. Some breeders are making efforts to eradicate movi from their domestic flocks – seeking movi free status. The issue is that this comes at a great cost to them financially.
Through the “Say NO to Movi” pilot program a breeder selected to participate in the program submits to flock movi disease testing. Movi-infected specimen will be culled with the meat donated to a suitable cause. If chosen to participate under the “Say NO to Movi” program the breeder will qualify for monetary assistance to offset the hardship of losing part of their flock.
Shuswap Meats Owner Shane Brady & Volunteer Rod Ellis donate butchering services – Photo Chris Barker
Organizations and Individuals Step up and get Involved in the Pilot Program
At the 2017 Jurassic Classic, a Wild Sheep Foundation event we unveiled the “Say NO to Movi” pilot program. WSF Chapters and Affiliates, conservation groups, and wild sheep advocates were approached to help in the movi disease free movement. A British Columbia breeder agreed to participate in the Say NO to Movi” pilot program. After testing, the results determined that from his flock, 11 ewes and 11 lambs tested positive with the movi virus.
The domestic breeder agreed to submit his infected sheep to cull in an effort to move forward with the ultimate goal of being declared movi free. This program provides the breeder with financial assistance from the wild sheep community. Under the “Say NO to Movi” Pilot Program financial hardship for the breeder was off set by contributing funds for the culled ewes. The monetary assistance was sent directly to the breeder who was responsible for handling all aspects of the cull.
The meat from the culled animals is being donated to wild fire victims in British Columbia. Tens of thousands of individuals were displaced this summer from North Central BC and many have lost their belongings to wild fires. It is important to note that movi infected sheep are completely safe for human consumption and the virus cannot be transferred through the meat.
Shuswap Meats cutting lambs and making burger – photo Chris Barker
There were a total of 11 ewes that were movi infected with this breeder. We asked Wild Sheep Foundation Chapters and Affiliates and conservation minded individuals to sponsor the movi infected sheep cull. In total we had sixteen specific donations under the “Say NO to Movi” pilot program generating $4000.
The additional 11 movi-infected lambs were purchased at market rates by Wild Sheep advocates and were submitted for slaughter in September 2017. Some of the lamb meat will be offered as appetizers at the 2018 WSSBC Kamloops Convention in March.
Collaboration and Thank you
At the 2017 Jurassic Classic we officially announced this exciting pilot program, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. A total of $4000 was donated covering offset costs for the cull for all eleven ewes and provided seed money for additional movi infected sheep.
The “Say NO to Movi” Pilot Program thanks Shuswap Meats owner Shane Brady for donating his time and service to butcher all of the lambs. Volunteer Rod Ellis also assisted in the processing of these lambs. Thank you to Shuswap Meats, Shane Brady, and Rod Ellis for donating your time and services in support of our ultimate goal of ridding all wild sheep from the movi virus.
On behalf of the Wild Sheep Society of BC team we thank the organizations and individuals that understand the significance of eradicating movi. This is an incredible opportunity to further wild sheep conservation efforts and give to those individuals that are under-going incredible hardship at the expense of wild fires. As hunters it is important that we continue our conservation efforts. It is also important that we share our message and continue to build our social license.
For additional information contact:
Chris Barker Kyle Stelter
Director – Projects Director – Communications
Wild Sheep Society of BC Wild Sheep Society of BC
Tel: 250 883-3112 250 619-8415
Guide Outfitters Association of BC
Tel: 250 457-7124
For additional information on the Movi virus visit: www.wildsheepsociety.com
Slaughtered Movi infected lambs – photo Chris Barker