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12,000 Ranchers & Cattlemen Distribute

"Keep U.S. Beef Safe" Alert Safety Fact Sheet

To Consumers, Elected Officials & On Website

BILLINGS, MT (February 21, 2005) -- The Ranchers-Cattlemen's Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) urged consumers today to tell their grocery store managers, butchers, mayors, governors, members of Congress and local health officials: "Keep U.S. Beef Safe." This call-for-action is part of a nationwide campaign to stop federal officials from dropping crucial food safety protections for imported beef, specifically from Canada. Four cases of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, a deadly disease also known as mad cow, have been identified in Canadian cattle since May 2003.

"The United States has the safest beef in the world, and we want to keep it that way. Even with increased testing we have yet to find one single native case of BSE in U.S. born and raised cattle. For this reason, we are urging consumers to speak out: 'Keep U.S. Beef Safe,'" wrote Leo McDonnell, Jr., President of R-CALF USA, in a letter to every Member of Congress, Governor, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities.

R-CALF USA, which represents over 12,000 ranchers and cattle producers across the country, is enlisting its members to distribute a "Keep U.S. Beef Safe" alert safety fact sheet to area consumers, elected officials, and health officials. R-CALF USA also has posted the fact sheet on its web site, www.r-calfusa.com. It lists facts that R-CALF USA officials -more-

said would stop "cold in its tracks" the U.S. Department of Agriculture's March 7th plan to lift the ban against Canadian meat products, if the public knew about the facts and understood the consequences of ignoring them.

"This is an irresponsible and dangerous move. This will put U.S. import standards lower than other major consuming nations," said Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF USA. "U.S. consumers deserve and expect the highest standards, not lower standards."

Both McDonnell and Bullard emphasized that the U.S. now has effective firewalls in place that reduce the likelihood of the disease in this country. "We test annually over 150,000 more cattle than Canada tests, and Canada has a much higher exposure to European cattle than the U.S. Out of 16,000 animals tested in Alberta, four had mad cow. That kind of rate shows we better learn more about the Canadian system before we open our borders," said McDonnell.

After the discovery of mad cow disease in Great Britain in 1986, USDA halted all cattle and beef trade with BSE infected nations, beginning in 1989. In May 2003, the U.S. halted beef imports from Canada with the first discovery of a Canadian born and raised BSE infected cow. In 2004, USDA attempted to lift the ban against higher-risk Canadian meat products, but R-CALF USA successfully stopped the effort in federal court. Earlier this year, the agency once again announced its intention to open the Canadian borders on March 7th. Again, R-CALF USA filed a lawsuit to stop USDA from lifting the ban. The U.S. District Court in the District of Montana has scheduled a hearing on the matter for March 2nd in Billings, MT.

R-CALF USA has urged USDA to acknowledge how little is known about BSE contamination and how it infects and spreads, both in cattle and humans. There is no known cure for the disease, which has killed at least 150 people, mostly in Great Britain. R-CALF USA also has urged USDA to require a "country of origin" label on meat products; however, the agency opposes mandatory labeling and has convinced Congress to delay implementation of a federal law that requires labeling.

"The imported animals from Canada will not be tested for mad cow," said Chuck Kiker, an R-CALF USA board director from Beaumont, TX. "And, our consumers won't know where it's from because none of it is labeled for origin. And worst of all, some are going to think they're not exposed to eating Canadian beef because it will carry a USDA inspected stamp. Talk about misleading moms and dads who are buying food for their families!"

Herreid Livestock owner and South Dakota board director, Herman Schumacher said, "Consumers don't need to be exposed to any risk from BSE. Because they care about their consumers, thirty-three countries have banned beef and cattle from Canada and until Canada can prove they're BSE free, we shouldn't let untested cattle cross the border."


In its lawsuit, R-CALF USA argues that USDA has "ignored science." Recent scientific evidence has revealed that the agent responsible for BSE contamination has recently been found not just in nerve tissue, but in muscle tissue as well, raising concerns that standards should be raised, not lowered.

"I'm hoping we will be successful in court again. If enough consumers knew even one or two of these facts, they would stop the decision to lift the ban cold in its track. Until people are able to make an informed decision about what meat to buy for their families, the ban should stay in place," said McDonnell.



R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on domestic and international trade and marketing issues. R-CALF USA, a national, non-profit organization, is dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA's membership consists primarily of cow-calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and feedlot owners. Its members – over 12,000 strong – are located in 46 states, and the organization has over 60 local and state association affiliates, from both cattle and farm organizations. Various main street businesses are associate members of R-CALF USA. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.

R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America


An Alert Safety Fact Sheet To Protect U.S. Consumers

ALERT FACT 1: As They Lower Protections Against Imported Canadian Beef, Federal Officials Refuse To Tell Consumers Where The Beef Is From.

On March 7th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will lift a ban against imported Canadian meat products, essentially gutting existing protections and lowering U.S. standards significantly below international ones practiced by most industrialized countries. USDA takes this step, as it continues to oppose mandatory labeling of meat to provide consumers the choice of steaks and burgers from cattle born and raised in the United States or from cattle or meat products imported from another country. In 2002, Congress passed a law specifically requiring meat products to have a "country of origin" label. USDA has lobbied Congress to delay the law's implementation twice: once in 2002 and again in 2004. The agency has made clear its opposition to mandatory labeling and has sought to have the law repealed.

ALERT FACT 2: The USDA Inspection Stamp Is False Advertising.

Many consumers believe that the USDA Inspection Stamp implies that meat products either come from U.S. cattle and/or have been inspected by U.S. government officials. The truth about the USDA Inspected Stamp is more complicated. The USDA stamp does not mean the meat is from cattle born and raised in the United States. It could be from any one of the 13 countries we import beef from.

ALERT FACT 3: Mad Cow Found In Four Cows Born & Raised In Canada In Past 21 Months

Why USDA would want to lift the ban on Canadian meat imports is puzzling, given that mad cow disease has been identified in four cows born and raised in Canada during the past 21 months.

FIRST COW: May 2003

SECOND COW: December 2003 (identified in U.S.; born and raised in Canada)

THIRD & FOURTH COWS: January 2005

ALERT FACT 4: The One & Only U.S. Cow With BSE Was Born & Raised In Canada

In December 2003, a Canadian born and raised cow was slaughtered in the State of Washington. Meat from the cow had been packaged and distributed to seven states, before anyone identified the disease in the cow's remains.

ALERT FACT 5: To Date, No U.S. Born & Raised Cow Has Been Detected With BSE.

Even prior to growing concerns about mad cow disease, the United States in 1989 adopted some of the world's toughest import safety standards to protect consumers. After over 15 years of testing, not one single case of mad cow has been found in a U.S. born and raised cow. Allowing Canadian cattle to enter into the country before Canada eradicates BSE from its herd is a contradiction of this country's historically successful disease prevention strategy. Lifting the ban also represents a shift in philosophy from preventing and avoiding the problem to increasing the risk of mad cow in this country.

ALERT FACT 6: Canada Has Weakest Control Measures Of Any Country With BSE.

Of those countries with BSE, Canada has the weakest control measures. For example, Japan tests every slaughtered cow for mad cow disease. European countries test every cow over 30 months. Other countries, such as France, test cows even younger than 30 months.

ALERT FACT 7: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China Among 33 Countries That Ban Canadian Beef.

The Asian rim countries, especially China, have been identified as essential to the growth of U.S. beef exports. By lowering protection standards in this country and allowing imports of Canadian beef, the U.S. meat markets risk extensions of existing bans as well as being banned by other countries in the future. Currently, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, and many other countries have banned meat products from both the U.S. and Canada. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently raised the issue of Japan lifting completely a ban on imports of U.S. beef during a meeting with her Japanese counterpart.

ALERT FACT 8: Canada Refuses To Stop Contaminating Cattle Feed

News reports originating in Canada indicate that as much as 70% of cattle feed samples tested contained unauthorized animal parts, suggesting that Canada has not adequately enforced its feed ban. A ban on using animal parts in cattle feed is recognized as the single most important measure for controlling BSE.

ALERT FACT 9: U.S. Bans Consumers From Buying Inexpensive Drugs From Canada, But Opens Border For Potentially Unsafe Meat

While federal government officials don't trust Canadian officials to distribute safe pharmaceuticals that are less expensive than American-made drugs, they apparently trust them well enough to sell U.S. consumers their beef.
As my Dad would say.... "What a crock of .........!"

Don't worry Mr. Bullard, your anti-meat partners are taking notes, and if/when an American case shows up, your name will be the one quoted in their press releases about how unsafe American beef is.

I can see it now, front page of the Wall Street Journal. "American cattlemens organization agrees that present science regarding the safety of American beef is flawed." In big bold letters. Over and over and over again.

R-Calf will be quoted on all the news shows about how removing SRM's, and feed bans don't work, and that one case in a country means all people should STOP buying the beef.

Stupid is as stupid does. :dunce:
Don't worry Bill Bullard folks like Oldtimer will believe you and echo your statements. A hell of a lot of consumers as well after the next US case of BSE.
Kato, If we get a BSE, R-calf will tell these same people. Lets test them all and see if and how big a problem. Keep out of the food chain the ones that test bad and eat the others. But then I guess that is telling the truth and not pulling the wool over someones eyes and probably not sound science. :?
You have had as case of BSE. They could be pushing for testing all cattle now,but instead they wanted to track down the canadian cattle which with your tracking system that would have been impossible. If they were serious about animal health and not just protectionist that what they would want.
Why can't you admit it that it's because of the money and not BSE. :cowboy:
I would say it is about the money, for one thing many ranchers are finially getting a calf crop check that allows to pay off bills or put someaway. The other thing is we need to have rules we either follow or don't make in the first place. We all lose confidence in the rules if big money can change them. Don't you think changing the rules "in case we get a bse" is about money? :?
Nebrusker the hatred for some people never ends and I m jsut standing up for fello Canadian ranchers to you. Why don't you go back to studying instead of drinking beer you frat brat! Daddys money keep rolling into your girly hands and you keep spending it at college!

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