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Debate Over Testing 100% Of Cattle Heats Up

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CattleAnnie

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Debate Over Testing 100% Of Cattle Heats Up

Last Updated Mar 18 2005 04:01 PM CST
CBC News


SASKATOON – Twenty-two months after the mad cow scare closed the American border to Canadian cattle, the idea of testing all Canadian cattle for mad cow disease is getting more people in the industry talking.

Alvin Pawlitza, who raises purebred cattle on his farm near Abbey, said since the U.S. border closed, demand for his breeding stock has fallen off.

Pawlitza said Canada needs to develop new markets and if 100 per cent testing would open up markets like Japan, then it would be worth it.

Pawlitza said he's pretty much given up on the Americans re-opening the border on their own.

"This is simply politics, but one way around politics is to start to ratchet up on the pressure point," he said. "My experience with some of the Americans that I talk to is the minute you mention testing you hit a nerve."

Pawlitza said the Americans aren't equipped to do universal testing themselves and would be concerned this would give Canada an edge in world markets.

"They do not want to see us go to universal testing," he said. "If that's the case, I think it's time to play this card."

But Darcy Undseth of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says universal testing is not necessary for food safety.

Furthermore, he said, if Canada tested 100 per cent of cattle destined for foreign markets, it could have dire consequences at home.

"The consumer would certainly be asking a lot of tough questions as to why it is necessary for one market and not necessary for the domestic product," said Undseth, who is the veterinary program specialist for the CFIA in Calgary.

In past years, the number of cattle tested for BSE has been below one per cent of the total slaughtered.

But at the legislature, the Opposition Saskatchewan Party has been asking the provincial government whether more BSE testing would open up foreign markets.

Sask. Party MLA Bob Bjornerud says farmers are getting tired of being so dependent on the opening of the American border and urges the province to study universal testing.

"We haven't got a clue when it's going to open up. Will the minister consider this today?" he asked in the legislature.

But Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Mark Wartman said there's no evidence universal testing would make a difference.

"We do not have any guaranteed market that says if you go to 100 per cent testing, we'll take your beef," he said.

The cost of universal testing is another issue. Estimates range from $20 to $50 per head.


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(Personally I find CFIA's stand maddening. Could they have their noses any farther up the AMI's behind?! It's not like we're going to risk our export markets by raising the bar, so what is there to lose? When one considers that the $20-50 cost per head of the test would be passed down to the producer - we sure could afford that much better than the financial losses we're currently seeing - especially on the cull cows and balogna bulls. For pete's sake, here in BC the BCCA in all their wisdom has enacted a $10 per head horn levvy on all cattle to take effect this fall - what's another $20?). - End rant.

Take care.
 

don

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(Personally I find CFIA's stand maddening. Could they have their noses any farther up the AMI's behind?!

not much farther. when i e-mailed them last week about the implications of canada and the us using different ihc tests for a final determination on bse they sent back answers referring me off to somebody else. these are the people setting the standards but they don't wnat to talk about them. we have the cfia saying they can't raise the standard for testing because it isn't warranted and thus closing off trade opportunities. they have a convenient excuse for keeping us locked into this situation.
 

Sandhusker

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""The consumer would certainly be asking a lot of tough questions as to why it is necessary for one market and not necessary for the domestic product," said Undseth, who is the veterinary program specialist for the CFIA in Calgary."

That's the kind of nonsense the USDA told us about Creekstone testing for Japan. Guess what USDA did then? They did exactly what they claimed would cause problems by negotiating a 20 month age test exclusive for the Japanese markets!
 

Tam

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Sandhusker said:
""The consumer would certainly be asking a lot of tough questions as to why it is necessary for one market and not necessary for the domestic product," said Undseth, who is the veterinary program specialist for the CFIA in Calgary."

That's the kind of nonsense the USDA told us about Creekstone testing for Japan. Guess what USDA did then? They did exactly what they claimed would cause problems by negotiating a 20 month age test exclusive for the Japanese markets!

AND you proved the USDA right because when Japan insisted on 20 months the rest of you started saying well if you are going down to 20 months for Japan then we shouldn't be accepting anything over 20 months either. R-CALF even said that if BSE was found in the US the ranchers shouldn't market any thing over 20 months. What happen to the idea you can do something for one market and it won't effect the rest of your markets. The OIE said 30 months but as soon as the USDA agreed to 20 months you all jumped on the band wagon. Don't tell me if the US had agreed to 100% testing for Japan that all of you wouldn't have been yelling will if we do it for Japan then we shouldn't be sell any beef unless it's tested.
 

Sandhusker

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Tam said:
Sandhusker said:
""The consumer would certainly be asking a lot of tough questions as to why it is necessary for one market and not necessary for the domestic product," said Undseth, who is the veterinary program specialist for the CFIA in Calgary."

That's the kind of nonsense the USDA told us about Creekstone testing for Japan. Guess what USDA did then? They did exactly what they claimed would cause problems by negotiating a 20 month age test exclusive for the Japanese markets!

AND you proved the USDA right because when Japan insisted on 20 months the rest of you started saying well if you are going down to 20 months for Japan then we shouldn't be accepting anything over 20 months either. R-CALF even said that if BSE was found in the US the ranchers shouldn't market any thing over 20 months. What happen to the idea you can do something for one market and it won't effect the rest of your markets. The OIE said 30 months but as soon as the USDA agreed to 20 months you all jumped on the band wagon. Don't tell me if the US had agreed to 100% testing for Japan that all of you wouldn't have been yelling will if we do it for Japan then we shouldn't be sell any beef unless it's tested.

You're missing my point, Tam. I was pointing out the hypocracy (or was it simple forgetfulness) of the USDA. They said "You can't do "X" because it will cause problems, but then they went and did "X".

Everybody then jumped on the 20 month deal because they had the USDA in a corner.
 
A

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Sandblaster: "That's the kind of nonsense the USDA told us about Creekstone testing for Japan. Guess what USDA did then? They did exactly what they claimed would cause problems by negotiating a 20 month age test exclusive for the Japanese markets!"

There is absolutely no comparison between setting the presidence that 100% testing provides food safety and using an existing age verification system to satisfy Japan's demands for segregation of younger cattle.

That isn't even in the same league.

What you desperately sink your teeth into to "BWAME USDA" is nothing short of amazing.



~SH~
 

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