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Canadian Ranchers See Politics in Beef Blockade

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Bull Burger

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Canadian Ranchers See Politics in Beef Blockade

NewsMax.com Wires
Friday, March 4, 2005

TORONTO -- Some call it protectionism, others payback. But ranchers in Western Canada agree the U.S. ban on Canadian beef is no longer about mad cow disease.

The Senate voted Thursday to overturn the Bush administration's decision to allow Canadian cattle into the country nearly two years after they were banned because of brain-wasting illness. The vote came a day after a U.S. federal judge granted a temporary injunction by U.S. ranchers.

Story Continues Below

Danny Rosehill of the Olds Auction Mart in Calgary said U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull's ruling was not only biased in favor of cattlemen in Montana but indicative of the increasingly testy relations between the world's largest trading partners.

Canada declined to join the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and then, last week, Prime Minister Paul Martin announced Ottawa would opt out of Washington's proposed continental missile shield. The White House was so peeved that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice canceled a trip to Ottawa.

"Why would the United States want to play ball with us? They come to us with hat in hand, asking for support on the war, and we say no," Rosehill said in a telephone interview from Calgary. "They come to us with hat in hand on this missile thing, and we say no."

Rosehill speaks for many Albertans in the western province, Canada's most conservative. Its leader, Premier Ralph Klein, was one of the few Canadian leaders to pledge support of the U.S. war in Iraq and often plays apologist for his traditionally liberal nation.

Canadian ranchers have been devastated by the ban on beef, in effect since May 2003 after an Albertan-born cow in Washington state was found ill with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. Humans who eat BSE-contaminated tissue can contract a degenerative, fatal brain disorder.


The Canadian cattle industry has lost about $5.6 billion since then.

A pound of steer dropped from 88 cents in May 2003 to 22 cents after the ban. In the last few weeks, it has inched back up to 73 cents, according to the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, in anticipation of the border's opening up again.

The R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America, based in Billings, Mont., argued before Cebull that the USDA plan to reintroduce Canadian beef would pose a risk to consumers and U.S. cattle producers. The group asked the judge to block the reopening until its lawsuit was heard, and he complied.

John Masswohl, spokesman for the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, said the court ruling and subsequent Senate vote has nothing to do with health, missiles or the Iraqi war.

"None of this is about food safety or animal health or anything to do with disease," he said. "It's all about the money."

He said the Senators who voted in favor of the bill on Thursday mainly represent big beef-producing states such as North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

Rosehill and Masswohl both said Canadian cattlemen need to look East for new markets and curb their dependence on Americans to buy and chow down their beef. Canada sends 60 percent of its livestock to the United States, followed by Japan, South Korea and Mexico.
 
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Anonymous

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Bull Burger said:
He said the Senators who voted in favor of the bill on Thursday mainly represent big beef-producing states such as North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

Bull Burger- Thats Bull Puckey-- And I know you are only the messenger delivering the statement, but- Thats only 6 Senators from 3 states- The vote was 52-46 that means Senators from at least 26 states voted for it, and I'll bet the vote was much more diversified than that... Even Meatingplace and some of the packer and AMI backed publications are starting to recognize it is because of a complete policy breakdown in the USDA and failure to communicate... The Senators (even many Republican) had asked for Ann's departure long ago, because of her screwups and their lack of faith with her-- now its still riding USDA's shirtails...
How did a "sound science" that two years ago prompted and even required a border closing all of a sudden change? What new scientific discoveries have came forward? All the ones I've seen (muscle meat prions, organ infection, spread between species, under thirty month infection) have supported the closure.... USDA's failure to even work with and set up a passed law- mandatory COOL, so that consumers can make the final decision, is coming back to haunt them........

I'll agree that a lot of it is politics-but much of that politics is US incountry politics and the Canadian rancher is paying for it... R-CALF gets the credit and the blame ( whichever side of the border you are on) but NCBA and all the other AG groups are doing as much behind the scenes, for whatever of their own reasons-- I know many feel that Bill and Leo walk on water, but they or R-CALF alone did not get a 52-46 vote......
 

SMS

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LOL

I have seen Leo walk through a water puddle. I can say without question, he does not walk on water. He sank to his ankles like the rest of us. :lol:
 

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