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Mad Cow has a silver lining for CDN producers

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SASH

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Mad cow crisis has strengthened Canada's beef industry: Ontario cattlemen




TORONTO, Jul 27, 2005 (The Canadian Press via COMTEX) -- Cattle producers in Ontario say Canada's beef industry has come out of the mad cow crisis better positioned to compete internationally with the United States.

Ontario Cattlemen's Association president Ian McKillop says the closing of the U.S. border to Canadian beef has strengthened Canada's ability to process and ship beef abroad. despite costing the industry billions of dollars.

McKillop says that's the silver lining to Canada's mad cow crisis. which began in 2003 when the U.S. closed its borders to Canadian beef.

Representatives from the association were meeting in Toronto with U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins to discuss the cattle trade.

Wilkins acknowledged that the closure hurt American beef producers. and said it's possible Canadian exports of beef to the U.S. will never recover to pre-2003 levels.

But Wilkins also noted that both the Canadian and U.S. beef industries have suffered.

McKillop left the meeting pleased with a commitment from the U.S. ambassador to eventually open the border to all classes of cattle. including breeding stock.

Currently. the border is open only to cattle under 30 months of age.

The Canadian industry estimates it lost some7 billion since the ban began following the first case of mad cow. the common name for bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE. emerged in Alberta two years ago.

People who eat meat tainted with BSE can contract a fatal brain disorder called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
 
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