Few Canadian agriculturists have received such international acclaim as Dr. Kenneth F. Wells. For years, he represented this country in all parts of the world where negotiations involving animal health were conducted.
While serving as a veterinary officer in the Health of Animals branch during the 1940s, Dr. Wells was involved in stamping out a serious outbreak of hog cholera, and in organizing a national pullorum disease control program. Successful as his efforts in these areas proved to be, it was not until 1952 that he gained national recognition. Faced with the challenge of stamping out a serious outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Saskatchewan, he organized an eradication program that proved highly successful in eliminating the disease and restoring markets for Canada’s livestock and meat products within a period of 12 months.
For his efforts in this regard, he was named Chief Veterinary Officer and three years later (1955), Veterinary Director General. Under his leadership, all veterinary services associated with Agriculture Canada were amalgamated under one head.
During his tenure of office programs designed to control and eradicate tuberculosis and brucellosis were expanded. As a result Canada’s cattle enjoy an enviable health status throughout the world.
Two significant landmarks stand out in any review of his career. Especially noteworthy are the establishment of the Canadian maximum security quarantine system, which makes possible the importation of cattle from countries formerly on the prohibited list, and the founding of a Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, a project that he pioneered.