Friends of the Earth calls for investigation into silencing of Canadian salmon scientist

Is Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) working to silence a scientist responsible for uncovering the widespread infectious salmon anemia (ISA) in salmon and trying to cover-up a disease that threatens wild Pacific salmon in British Columbia?

Friends of the Earth Canada has called for an independent investigation after the federal agency asked the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to strip the reference lab certification status from Dr. Frederick Kibenge's, researcher who has played a key role in investigating ISA in salmon from BC, lab at the Atlantic Veterinary College in PEI, one of only two laboratories in the world recognized for its ability to detect ISA in infected fish.

"We are concerned about efforts to silence a scientist who has played a leading role in uncovering the widespread infectious salmon anemia (ISA) in salmon. Given the CFIA's recent experience with XL Foods Inc. and E. coli, you would think they would pay close attention to this warning of the ISA virus in salmon," said Beatrice Olivastri, CEO of Friends of the Earth Canada, in a press release sent to us by the environmental organization.

"We believe Dr. Frederick Kibenge's work should have been welcomed, and strategically used in informing CFIA's own surveillance work to protect wild salmon rather than hide the extent of the spread of the ISA virus," said Olivastri in the press release. "This can only be a witch hunt against someone who doesn't agree with the government line, and is suffering from the government's bullying."

Decertification of the lab would reduce Canadians' ability to know about the presence of this disease in salmon. It would  have international ramifications, they said, as people from other countries also send samples to the lab.

The request for investigation, or petition, is addressed to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development and to the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.

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