Avian Influenza Notice - September 28, 2023
Avian Influenza has been detected in the region and the Avian Influenza Risk Level has recently been changed to HIGH.
Alberta currently has several municipalities experiencing confirmed cases of avian influenza in poultry operations. This currently includes Strathcona County.
There is an extremely low risk to human health and no risk to food safety. The disease can be spread to farmed flocks during wild bird migratory season. Wild birds, especially waterfowl, are natural reservoirs of influenza viruses. They are not normally affected by the disease, but can still transmit it to domestic birds.
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is managed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Alberta Agriculture Forestry and Rural Economic Development. HPAI is a reportable disease, so if you suspect or confirm a case in your flock, you must report it to the provincial and federal authorities.
Are you unsure if you are allowed livestock on your property? Or how many you may keep?
We've created an interactive map so that residents can now easily see whether or not they are permitted to have livestock on their property and how many are permitted.
Strathcona County has large country residential and small holdings areas in which to raise livestock. If you want to keep livestock or poultry on your property, the Responsible Livestock Ownership Bylaw applies to you.
It’s about more than controlling animals
The Responsible Livestock Ownership Bylaw focuses on minimizing disease risk, and supporting animal welfare, land stewardship and opportunities for agriculture.
It also supports agricultural and rural lifestyle opportunities, while balancing rural living and neighbour relations.
Permits to support responsible ownership
- Apiculture permit $25 – This may be required if you are interested in keeping honeybees on your property, as permit requirements depend on zoning restrictions.
- Livestock Over-limit permit $60 – For situations where residents would like more livestock than permitted in the bylaw based on land zoning and size. It includes a process to help residents successfully plan for the demands of having the additional livestock on acreages, and how to notify adjacent neighbours.
- Temporary Livestock Event permit – Required to support intentional and safe opportunities to experience livestock in urban areas (e.g., a petting zoo). If you would like a temporary Livestock Event permit, please contact us through County Connect.
- Appeal process for permits – This allows residents to request a reconsideration of a permit that has been denied, or canceled, or conditions placed on a permit granted.
- Wild boar permit – New wild boar farms are banned under the bylaw. Current producers will be allowed to continue operations but must complete the registration process in order to obtain a wild boar permit prior to January 1, 2023. If you are a current wild boar producer, please contact us using County Connect.
Livestock allowances based on land zoning and size
No change to allowances
The livestock allowances outlined in the Responsible Livestock Ownership Bylaw remain unchanged from those in the previous Animal Control Bylaw.
Allowances may be reviewed again in the future, with the potential for additional engagement to better understand the interests and needs of our rural community.
The number of allowable livestock on a rural property depends on land zoning and property size. Under the bylaw, properties zoned as one of the following, qualify for livestock units based on property size:
- Low Density Country Residential (RCL);
- Medium Density Country Residential (RCM);
- Small Holdings (RS); or
- Rural Residential/Agriculture (RA) where the parcel is less than 20 acres in size.
Livestock allowances do not apply to most parcels zoned to include Agriculture, General as a permitted use.
People who would like to raise livestock are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities in these designated areas.
Within the bylaw, all allowable livestock types have an assigned number of Livestock Units (LUs). Generally, larger livestock are assigned more units.
Residents can have up to 10 LUs per 0.5 acres on properties zoned RCL, RCM, RS or RA (less than 20 acres).
Those with more animals on their property than the bylaw allows can apply for a Livestock Over-limit permit with proof they are able to manage factors such as manure, pasture and overall well-being of animals.
Livestock restrictions in urban areas
Under the bylaw, livestock are not permitted in urban areas. This includes backyard bees and chickens.
The Responsible Livestock Ownership Bylaw includes a provision for a temporary livestock permit, for events. This application is for short-term instances such as parades, petting zoos and educational opportunities.
If you would like a temporary Livestock Event permit, please contact us through County Connect.
A review of the Animal Control Bylaw began in 2016 as part of the Urban Agriculture Strategy development. The process has included extensive research, expert consultation and public input.
October 4, 2022 – Council approved the new Responsible Livestock Ownership Bylaw, effective immediately.
June 21, 2022 – The County presented a recommendation to Council to move forward with proposed modernizations and enhancements to the bylaw, without changing the livestock allowances outlined in the current Animal Control Bylaw.
April/May 2022 – Rural resident survey to review proposed allowances, gather data on over-limit permits, and understand resident preferences for resources and supports.
July 20, 2021 – Draft Responsible Livestock Ownership bylaw presented to Council for approval. Council directed administration to complete additional work, including gathering resident feedback on the proposed bylaw.
January 26, 2021 – Results of rural resident engagement presented to Council.
July/August/October 2020 – Rural resident engagement via survey and focus groups. Rural residents, including acreage owners and large and small agriculture producers provided input specific to livestock types and amounts, specifically on smaller rural properties.
- Responsible Livestock Survey - Summary Report - 2020 (521.8 KB)
- Responsible Livestock Focus Groups - Summary Report - 2020 (371.8 KB)
- Responsible Livestock Focus Groups Evaluation Survey - Summary Report - 2020 (183.1 KB)
December 10, 2019 – The County presented recommendations to Council for a responsible livestock ownership bylaw to replace the Animal Control Bylaw.
April 2019 – Strathcona County checked back with residents through a SCOOP opinion poll on a proposed change to include an exemption permit process for livestock in urban areas.
November 13, 2018 – Draft recommendations for amendments to the Animal Control Bylaw were presented to Council at a Priorities Committee Meeting.
- Based on discussion at the meeting, it was determined that additional considerations were required and the entire bylaw should be revisited.
May 2017 - Strathcona County completed a review of local impacts of an urban chicken pilot program and determined it is not suitable for the needs of our specialized community.
- Following this review, the County examined feasibility of a proposed new Alternative Pets Bylaw, involving significant research.
- At the time, it was determined that amendments could be made to the Animal Control Bylaw, rather than developing a new bylaw.
November 29, 2016 - Strathcona County presented the final Urban Agriculture Strategy to Council for debate and approval.
- Resident feedback informed the recommendations on urban livestock, including the decision to develop a responsible livestock bylaw.
- A summary of engagement can be found in the strategy.
- One of the actions recommended in the strategy was to review the Animal Control Bylaw and to review whether chickens should be allowed in urban areas.