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TimH

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Expert says border should stay closed

By MARVIN BAKER, Staff Writer [email protected]


A leading U.S. cattle expert thinks the Canadian border should remain closed to live cattle, and there are several reasons why he believes that.

Dennis McDonald, the trade committee chairman for the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA), said the border reopening doesn't make a lot of sense, because apparently, Canada is being treated differently than other countries, according to international law.
McDonald spoke to about 75 livestock producers and veterinarians Monday night in the North Central Research Extension Center. The meeting was sponsored by the North Central Beef Marketing Club.

Despite two positive cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, in the Canadian herd since the first of the year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is going ahead with plans to implement full cattle trade with Canada.

"We took the final rule and put it up against the international rule and it's not complicated," he said. "I don't know, but it's obvious, there's a different set of rules."

McDonald, who is a renowned international lawyer, as well as a family rancher in Melville, Mont., said according to international law, there shouldn't be any trade with a foreign nation that has known BSE cases for eight years after the case is identified, and trade shouldn't resume until eight years after feed bans go into effect.

If that were to hold true, the United States wouldn't be allowed to accept live Canadian cattle until January 2013. A feed ban, which went into effect in Canada in August 1997, according to that same law, would keep the border closed until at least August of this year.

"Why the exception for Canada?" McDonald asked. "We stopped trading with Scandinavia because they had two cases. We stopped trading with the Ukraine because they had one case. Why is Canada different?"

One Canadian livestock producer who attended Monday's meeting said American beef packers are hell-bent on getting the border open March 7.

Trevor Atchison, who raises Limousin cattle near Pipestone, Man., told the crowd that contrary to what many Americans think, Canadian cattle won't be dumped in the United States.

The discussion got heated between Atchison and another producer who questioned Canada's ability to care for cattle older than 30 months.

Atchison said every animal that crosses the border is purchased by a U.S. buyer, more specifically the beef packers IBP and Cargill.

"These guys are controlling western Canada," Atchison said. "Some of the statements you're hearing may not be true."

McDonald agreed.

"Who stands to gain? The packers," he said. "The potential profit is enormous."

As an example, McDonald said a Canadian veterinarian, who did everything right in diagnosing the first modern case in Alberta that was reported in May 2003, actually knew about the positive mad cow five months before it was reported to the public.

"And what happened between those two dates?" McDonald asked. "The cattle kept coming across the border. I can't quantify the value of that because there are too many zeroes."

McDonald believes that BSE doesn't exist in the U.S. domestic herd. Thus, the best way to protect the domestic herd is to identify all foreign cattle in this country immediately and label them.

The lone positive case that was reported in the United States in December 2003 was an imported Holstein from Alberta.

He said that needs to be done because the British Broadcasting Corp., recently reported that a goat in France was identified to have BSE.

"That's striking because it (BSE) now jumps to another species," McDonald said. "It was found on a farm where a BSE-positive dairy herd was destroyed. It looks like the goat got the disease from eating grass or licking the ground."

And if there is a positive case again in the United States, he said we, as a beef-producing nation, shouldn't market beef in cattle older than 20 months.
That comment created another heated debate from a producer who said up to 30 percent of his income is based on cattle older than 20 months.

McDonald countered that BSE has never been found in cattle aged 20 months or younger, so why even take the chance?

He said there is a theory in cattle country that if the border reopens to live Canadian cattle March 7, statistically within the first year, there will be a 99.9 percent chance that an infected animal will surface in the United States.

In addition, he said the market could crash by as much as 20 percent just by the sheer numbers of cattle that will enter United States ports of entry.

"How do we protect our industry? By our first line of defense," McDonald said. "And that is to keep the disease out of this country and that's why R-CALF has taken its position."

In January, R-CALF filed a lawsuit against USDA, asking the U.S. District Court to overturn the reopening.

It will come down to a March 2 hearing in Billings, Mont., that will determine whether or not the border will reopen March 7 to live Canadian cattle, as USDA originally announced in late December.

R-CALF has generated about $800,000 in contributions to fight USDA. McDonald said it's expensive fighting the U.S. government, but the money raised represents the consensus of cattle producers nationwide.

McDonald said the same judge who was responsible for closing the border in May 2003 will hear this case. He said that is a lot of pressure on one man. However, McDonald is optimistic.

"There are two new cases, otherwise the facts are the same as in 2003," McDonald said. "It's the same judge, the same facts, and I believe it will be the same result."
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:lol:
 

TimH

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Sandhusker said:
That's his opinion, one that is not shared by the vast majority of R-CALF members.

So ,in his capacity as "Trade committee chairman", is it his duty to voice his own opinion or that of "the vast majority of members"???? :???:
 

Sandhusker

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Depends on the forum. If it's a press release or official statement, it had better be from the committee or have their blessings. Other than that, everybody is entitled to voice their opinion.

Just this morning, I read where Senator Hagel(R) voiced his opinion on Iraq. He's fairly high in the national Republican heirarchy, and what he said certainly wasn't the party line.

I understand the point you're trying to make, but a representative of a group voicing personal opinions contrary to the group is an everyday occurance. Ever hear of a dissenting opinion?
 

TimH

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Sandhusker said:
Depends on the forum. If it's a press release or official statement, it had better be from the committee or have their blessings. Other than that, everybody is entitled to voice their opinion.

Just this morning, I read where Senator Hagel(R) voiced his opinion on Iraq. He's fairly high in the national Republican heirarchy, and what he said certainly wasn't the party line.

I understand the point you're trying to make, but a representative of a group voicing personal opinions contrary to the group is an everyday occurance. Ever hear of a dissenting opinion?

OK. Since you are an R-Calf member, perhaps you would be kind enough to tell me what R-Calf's "party line" is ,regarding domestic(US) OTM beef, now that BSE has been discovered in the native herd?
 

Sandhusker

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TimH said:
Sandhusker said:
Depends on the forum. If it's a press release or official statement, it had better be from the committee or have their blessings. Other than that, everybody is entitled to voice their opinion.

Just this morning, I read where Senator Hagel(R) voiced his opinion on Iraq. He's fairly high in the national Republican heirarchy, and what he said certainly wasn't the party line.

I understand the point you're trying to make, but a representative of a group voicing personal opinions contrary to the group is an everyday occurance. Ever hear of a dissenting opinion?

OK. Since you are an R-Calf member, perhaps you would be kind enough to tell me what R-Calf's "party line" is ,regarding domestic(US) OTM beef, now that BSE has been discovered in the native herd?

Root it out, get rid of it and make it so we don't get it again.
 

Bill

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:lol: :lol: sandhusker still spinning and diverting! :lol: :lol: I will admit you make a good R-Calfer. :wink:
 

TimH

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Sandhusker- "Root it out, get rid of it and make it so we don't get it again."

What I meant was, what is R-Calf's official policy on whether or not beef from OTM cattle should be marketed, now that BSE has been discovered in domestic cattle?
 

Sandhusker

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TimH said:
Sandhusker- "Root it out, get rid of it and make it so we don't get it again."

What I meant was, what is R-Calf's official policy on whether or not beef from OTM cattle should be marketed, now that BSE has been discovered in domestic cattle?

If your question is concerning domestic OTM cattle, I honestly don't think R-CALF has an official policy.
 

TimH

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Sandhusker said:
TimH said:
Sandhusker- "Root it out, get rid of it and make it so we don't get it again."

What I meant was, what is R-Calf's official policy on whether or not beef from OTM cattle should be marketed, now that BSE has been discovered in domestic cattle?

If your question is concerning domestic OTM cattle, I honestly don't think R-CALF has an official policy.

Yes my question is regarding domestic OTM cattle. R-Calf doesn't have an official policy on that?
OK, then what is the opinion of the "vast majority of members" then, if it differs from that of Dennis McDonald?
And if you don't know the answer to that, I would be happy to know your own personal opinion,as an R-Calf member.
The question,once again is, should beef from domestic US cattle continue to be marketed now that BSE has been found in a native cow?
 

Kato

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:!: I believe Mr. McDonald has answered that question already....

"And if there is a positive case again in the United States, he said we, as a beef-producing nation, shouldn't market beef in cattle older than 20 months."

:!: Just as he has answered the question of how Japan should treat the U.S. beef trade.

"McDonald, who is a renowned international lawyer, as well as a family rancher in Melville, Mont., said according to international law, there shouldn't be any trade with a foreign nation that has known BSE cases for eight years after the case is identified, and trade shouldn't resume until eight years after feed bans go into effect.

If that were to hold true, the United States wouldn't be allowed to accept live Canadian cattle until January 2013. A feed ban, which went into effect in Canada in August 1997, according to that same law, would keep the border closed until at least August of this year. "

So, what with the U.S. having BSE of it's own, your saviours want you to tank all the cattle over 20 months, and keep the border closed with Japan until 2013.

Brilliant. Just brilliant. :shock:
 

Sandhusker

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TimH said:
Sandhusker said:
TimH said:
Sandhusker- "Root it out, get rid of it and make it so we don't get it again."

What I meant was, what is R-Calf's official policy on whether or not beef from OTM cattle should be marketed, now that BSE has been discovered in domestic cattle?

If your question is concerning domestic OTM cattle, I honestly don't think R-CALF has an official policy.

Yes my question is regarding domestic OTM cattle. R-Calf doesn't have an official policy on that?
OK, then what is the opinion of the "vast majority of members" then, if it differs from that of Dennis McDonald?
And if you don't know the answer to that, I would be happy to know your own personal opinion,as an R-Calf member.
The question,once again is, should beef from domestic US cattle continue to be marketed now that BSE has been found in a native cow?

I don't think R-CALF does have a policy on that. Maybe some of the other members can chime in if they know otherwise, but I'm not surprised that we don't. It's not really an issue, is it? Is there anybody else taking positons?

R-CALF's policy is that they aren't afraid to test and that all Canadian cattle that were in the country prior to May, 2003 should be tested. I don't know if I necessarily agree with leadership about testing all the Canadian cattle here, but considering the small numbers that are left, it might be a fairly cheap way to make people feel better.

I agree that we should test anything questionable. We've got it, it doesn't cost a whole lot, and it will end speculation. Why not test everything questionable until we get tired of not finding anything? I would not be against testing every animal born prior to the feed ban. I don't think it would be necessary, but would certainly show the world we're serious in getting to the bottom of the problem. Knowledge is power, and right now we don't really know what we've got. How can we develop a strategy to fix our problem if we don't even now to what extent the problem is?

The answer to your question; YES. We've found one animal in how many tested? You can argue about what is being tested and have a valid arguement, but that is another topic. From what we've found so far, BSE APPEARS to be practically non-existant in our herd.
 

Sandhusker

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Kato, "So, what with the U.S. having BSE of it's own, your saviours want you to tank all the cattle over 20 months, and keep the border closed with Japan until 2013."

I refer you to my prior posts concerning one man's opinion.
 

TimH

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Sandhusker - "The answer to your question; YES"

Since you answered yes to the question, it would follow,then, that you believe that beef from domestic(US) OTM cattle is safe for consumers.
Would that be a fair statement?
 

Murgen

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Canada is being treated differently than other countries, according to international law. [/code]

Is the US being treated differently when it comes to Japan?

They are an infected country!

One infection of BSE, means no trade!!!!!! (Sandhusker's rules)
 

Sandhusker

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TimH said:
Sandhusker - "The answer to your question; YES"

Since you answered yes to the question, it would follow,then, that you believe that beef from domestic(US) OTM cattle is safe for consumers.
Would that be a fair statement?

YES
 

Sandhusker

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Murgen said:
Canada is being treated differently than other countries, according to international law. [/code]

Is the US being treated differently when it comes to Japan?

They are an infected country!

One infection of BSE, means no trade!!!!!! (Sandhusker's rules)

Whoa, whoa, whoa, Murgen. One infection - no trade USED to be the USDA's rules, not mine (and Canada's as well). However, I agree with the old rule until it can be shown why the rule should be changed.
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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Sandhusker said:
TimH said:
Sandhusker said:
If your question is concerning domestic OTM cattle, I honestly don't think R-CALF has an official policy.

Yes my question is regarding domestic OTM cattle. R-Calf doesn't have an official policy on that?
OK, then what is the opinion of the "vast majority of members" then, if it differs from that of Dennis McDonald?
And if you don't know the answer to that, I would be happy to know your own personal opinion,as an R-Calf member.
The question,once again is, should beef from domestic US cattle continue to be marketed now that BSE has been found in a native cow?

I don't think R-CALF does have a policy on that. Maybe some of the other members can chime in if they know otherwise, but I'm not surprised that we don't. It's not really an issue, is it? Is there anybody else taking positons?

R-CALF's policy is that they aren't afraid to test and that all Canadian cattle that were in the country prior to May, 2003 should be tested. I don't know if I necessarily agree with leadership about testing all the Canadian cattle here, but considering the small numbers that are left, it might be a fairly cheap way to make people feel better.

I agree that we should test anything questionable. We've got it, it doesn't cost a whole lot, and it will end speculation. Why not test everything questionable until we get tired of not finding anything? I would not be against testing every animal born prior to the feed ban. I don't think it would be necessary, but would certainly show the world we're serious in getting to the bottom of the problem. Knowledge is power, and right now we don't really know what we've got. How can we develop a strategy to fix our problem if we don't even now to what extent the problem is?

The answer to your question; YES. We've found one animal in how many tested? You can argue about what is being tested and have a valid arguement, but that is another topic. From what we've found so far, BSE APPEARS to be practically non-existant in our herd.



Gee Sandhusker, couldn't you add a few more paragraphs to your reply or are you afraid that you might actually say something?
 

Sandhusker

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MLA, "Gee Sandhusker, couldn't you add a few more paragraphs to your reply or are you afraid that you might actually say something"

You're kind of hard to please, aren't you MLA? I was asked 4 questions, only 1 of which could of been yes/no. What do you expect?
 

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