• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

CCA looks for new solutions in wake of border decision

Help Support Ranchers.net:


Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
Reaction score
nw manitoba
CCA looks for new solutions in wake of border decision
this document web posted: Wednesday March 30, 2005 20050331p04

By Barry Wilson
Ottawa bureau

The March 2 decision by an American judge to keep the border closed to Canadian cattle marked a turning point for Canada's cattle industry leaders, says the president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association.

Any faith that the American system could be counted on to play by the rules and respect the implications of an integrated North American beef market evaporated, Ontario producer Stan Eby said in a March 24 interview.

"We see our contingency plan as an evolving living document but it is based on the assumption that the border will not open," he said in Ottawa after the annual meeting of the CCA where he was acclaimed as president for a second year.

"I would say since March 2 we have been operating in a new mind set, a view that says border opening cannot factor in anymore. We have been pushed around for a long time and that's enough."

The CCA leadership lobbied in Ottawa last week for direct aid to cattle producers, which was expected to be announced this week, as well as other changes in government policy.

The livestock lobby says Ottawa should use a tax credit system to attract investment into proposed new Canadian packing plants. The government's more passive loan loss reserve program has been widely criticized by the industry as ineffective because it requires private lenders to agree to absorb most of the risk when lending money to proposed new ventures.

Change of position

The CCA has also moved from its one-time opposition to BSE testing beyond what "science" says is required. It has traditionally agreed with the American cattle industry, as well as American and Canadian governments, that increased testing is unnecessary for health and safety assurances and would imply existing random testing is inadequate.

Now, the CCA is urging the government and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to allow increased or even 100 percent testing in some plants if it would increase marketing opportunities and perhaps allow Canadian product to compete more effectively with American product in third markets.

Eby said the CCA is not embracing universal testing.

However, it is asking Ottawa to fund a study into whether increased testing actually would increase market opportunities.

"We want to make sure that if we actually support more testing there will be markets for us," said Eby. "It's true this is a change from our traditional position on testing and would move us beyond the Americans but after March 2, that is not a bad thing. March 2 was a blow to us."

He said delegates to the CCA meeting, which was closed to media, showed a determination to survive the BSE crisis with or without American co-operation.

"I see a resolve in the industry, a strong resolve and determination to deal with this on our own terms with Canadian solutions."

Before the Ottawa convention, there was some industry speculation that Eby's presidency could be challenged by prairie delegates. He was re-elected without opposition for what he said would be his last term.

"We are united in this industry," he said. "We will move forward and we will survive."

One of the key CCA objectives is to find a way to reduce dependency on the U.S. market by expanding Canadian shares in other foreign markets, in part through a federal government-supported off-shore marketing plan being promoted by the industry.

One of the selling points will be to differentiate Canadian beef from American beef, perhaps through more testing for markets that want it

Latest posts