Canadian Bison

The Red Meat with a Difference

In stark contrast to the rugged image of the Canadian bison with its thick coat of fur, roaming wild on the Prairie, the meat has become a gourmet treat, enjoyed by the most sophisticated palates, and recognized for being as delicious as it is healthy.

A lean red meat, bison has a rich, distinctive flavour, and a sizzling bison steak or a juicy bison roast is a culinary experience not to be missed!

From ancient to modern

Bison were once a staple in the diet of North America's pre-Columbian inhabitants. But the animal's near-extinction in the nineteenth century, and the slowness with which the population has been rebuilt, means the bison meat industry of the 21st century is very new. As a result, Canada's bison producers are working hard to familiarize domestic and international consumers with what they have to offer.

Bison is valued for the gourmet quality of its meat, but almost every part of the animal has a use. Hides become leather, while the horns, bones and teeth become a medium for traditional First Nations carvers and bead-makers. The wool, which the animals grow for winter and shed in spring, can be spun into high-quality fibre.

Canada's bison industry is growing rapidly because of increased consumer demand for specialty meats. It's especially attractive to health-conscious diners because the meat is nutritionally dense, but is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than beef or pork. Even better, Canadian bison are raised as naturally as possible, and are fed almost completely on pasture and hay.

Sustainable and safe

Raising bison has another great advantage—it's sustainable. Nearly all the animals' nutritional needs can be met by grazing on perennial grasses that grow naturally across Canada. Agricultural inputs are therefore very small, and the herds themselves have a minimal effect on the natural environment.

Canadian bison meat products also offer high quality and safety standards. The bison industry is closely regulated by the federal government's Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The industry has also established the Canadian Bison Identification Program -– a trace-back system to control and eradicate disease—and work is underway to develop the Canadian Quality Bison Program to ensure its farm practices meet Canada's rigorous food-safety standards.

Taste the Canadian difference

Healthy, lean and delicious, Canadian bison will suit the most discriminating palate. For further information on Canada's bison industry, please visit:

Government website

Industry website


Trade Statistics

The following tables represent Canada's total trade in a given export commodity based on Statistics Canada data. The product categories represent HS code groupings and have not been modified. In most cases, statistics have been presented at the 6 or 8 digit level. Statistics are presented in Canadian dollars and are complete through year end 2010.

Canada's Exports to All Countries - Product ($CAD)
HS 2007 2008 2009 2010 Growth 2007-2010
02013010 - Bison cuts boneless, fresh or chilled 9,025,752 10,423,239 10,397,845 9,764,467 8.2%
02012010 - Bison cuts bone in, fresh or chilled 530,452 272,296 225,771 281,198 -47.0%

Canada's Exports to All Countries - Product (Quantity, KGM)
HS 2007 2008 2009 2010 Growth 2007-2010
02013010 - Bison cuts boneless, fresh or chilled 927,973 1,017,382 840,239 781,264 -15.8%
02012010 - Bison cuts bone in, fresh or chilled 117,679 67,554 26,471 55,578 -52.8%

 

Canada's Monthly Exports to All Countries
(HS Codes 02012010, 02013010, Value $CAD)
Month 2007 2008 2009 2010
Jan 840,147 758,520 946,519 546,381
Feb 577,648 814,195 547,388 832,646
Mar 685,170 886,968 1,232,434 981,605
Apr 893,372 678,620 1,011,607 822,934
May 650,568 1,068,885 885,249 847,389
Jun 550,604 718,653 1,101,841 805,011
Jul 883,400 674,421 776,417 992,151
Aug 760,701 1,178,203 902,439 844,446
Sep 991,668 885,263 1,079,392 639,400
Oct 753,780 981,456 592,596 612,365
Nov 1,108,918 1,277,680 697,991 1,090,161
Dec 860,228 772,671 849,743 1,031,176
TOTAL 9,556,204 10,695,535 10,623,616 10,045,665

Canada's Exports to All Countries by Province
(HS Codes 02012010, 02013010, Value $CAD)
Province 2007 2008 2009 2010
Alberta 4,323,247 6,766,554 7,395,032 6,011,044
British Columbia 2,343,421 253,141 42,544 5,073
Manitoba 297,178 21,941 0 0
Ontario 0 0 5,784 63,834
Québec 2,543,513 3,486,963 3,142,398 3,938,197
Saskatchewan 48,845 166,936 37,858 27,517

Canada's Top 10 Bison Markets
(HS Codes 02012010, 02013010, Value $CAD)
Country 2007 2008 2009 2010 Growth 2007-2010
TOTAL: 9,556,204 10,695,535 10,623,616 10,045,665 5.1%
United States 1,483,302 2,422,956 3,320,866 5,031,513 239.2%
Switzerland 651,890 1,635,443 1,856,660 2,266,937 247.8%
France 4,330,914 5,768,745 4,651,475 1,851,814 -57.2%
Egypt 0 0 0 374,643 -
Macao 0 0 0 170,020 -
Germany 2,680,778 776,515 462,673 134,178 -94.9%
Mexico 39,612 41,813 45,346 101,591 156.5%
United Arab Emirates 0 756 41,008 89,385 -
Singapore 0 0 0 17,517 -
Russia 0 0 0 8,067 -