People will be safer from animal-related collisions on British Columbia highways, and ranchers and farmers will be able to better protect their herds, with a five-year extension of the Provincial Livestock Fencing Program.
“The success of the Provincial Livestock Fencing Program in reducing livestock-related collisions on our highways makes extending it for five more years an easy decision,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena. “There are two major benefits of the fencing program: Keeping people safe while driving, and helping ranchers protect their investment.”
The Provincial Livestock Fencing Program extension is supported under the $46-million safety improvement section of Budget 2018. The program, which is a partnership between the provincial government and BC Cattlemen’s Association (BCCA), will receive $1 million annually for the next five years.
Since it launched in 2010, $16 million has been invested in the program. As of this spring, more than 900 kilometres of livestock fencing will have been built along B.C. highways.
According to information provided by the BCCA, cattle fatalities by road and rail incidents have steadily decreased in the last seven years. Cattle fatalities have declined from 92 in 2011, to 21 last year.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the fencing program is responsible for the drastic reduction in the number of cattle lost to ranchers and farmers,” said Kevin Boon, general manager, BC Cattlemen’s Association. “This partnership with the Province for five more years will allow us to keep more of our livestock out of harm’s way, but more importantly, it helps keep the travelling public safe."
The BCCA will continue to administer this popular program, by taking applications from livestock owners who are seeking assistance to build fences adjacent to the highway. Applications are reviewed by a committee, and projects are selected based on several factors, including current fence condition, livestock headcount and highway designation.
The Provincial Livestock Fencing Program has played a pivotal role in the rapid replacement of fencing that was either damaged or destroyed during the wildfires last summer. Thanks to the BCCA's working quickly with local contractors involved in the program, nearly 100 kilometres of fencing have been repaired or assessed in less than seven months.
The B.C. government has invested $6.2 million to support the necessary replacement of livestock fencing and Crown range infrastructure after the devastating fires that affected the province last year.
See an animated illustration highlighting the success of the Provincial Livestock Fencing Program here: https://youtu.be/1sozUx_LAOs
Follow the work of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure online: http://www.tranbc.ca