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OIE appears to back USDA in R-CALF lawsuit

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Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
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Northeastern B.C.
Legal/Regulatory News
OIE appears to back USDA in R-CALF lawsuit

by Pete Hisey on 2/24/05 for Meatingplace.com

David Wilson, head of international trade development for the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE, its initials in French) appears to have backed the USDA in its litigation with R-CALF USA, a rancher's group that has sued in Federal court to overturn USDA's decision to reopen the Canadian border to imports of cattle and beef.

R-CALF, in its suit, charged that USDA was not following OIE guidelines in determining the risk profile of a trading partner, particularly in light of questions about Canada's adherence to its own ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban. However, Wilson seems to be saying that the guidelines for minimal risk designation are not a hard-and-fast checklist, and that if the importing country feels that alternatives could provide the same degree of safety as the OIE guideline.

The significant section in Wilson's statement reads, "OIE would not consider it appropriate for the importing country to apply each criterion as an item on a checklist and to conclude the exporting country fails to qualify for a particular risk status merely because it does not meet a listed criterion within that particular status. In such a situation, the importing country would be expected to utilize the outcomes of its risk assessment in determining whether an alternative risk management measure could be applied to achieve the same level of protection. For instance, a deficiency in the length of time a feed ban has been effectively applied could be addressed through restrictions on the age of live cattle imported."

R-CALF and others claim that compliance with the Canadian feed ban was very low at the outset, and that it has not been effectively in force for the seven years OIE suggests. And by limiting imports to cattle thirty months or under, USDA appears to address that weakness.

Take care.
The OIE more than "appears" to back USDA. They have been saying this since their report on the Washington cow almost a year ago.
So it all boils down to NOBODY can really use the OIE's guidelines to prove anything as NOTHING is hard and fast. It's all in the interpretation. Isn't that nice. "These are the rules, but they're not really THE rules. Feel free to substitute if you need to."
Go READ the OIE recommendations regarding the Washington cow. It's there in black and white encouraging the US to resume trade with Canada thereby setting an example for the rest of the world. I am surprised you haven't read it as it's been out for almost a year.
SandHusker: "These are the rules, but they're not really THE rules. Feel free to substitute if you need to."

The OIE says that the first case in the US could not be considered in isolation of the whole cattle production system, and could not be dismissed as a imported cases but all we have heard from some US producers is that it's Canada's fault and let Canada clean up their system. As if millions of Canadian cattle don't already live in the US and can't be tracked down. Which the OIE said to call off looking for them and concentrate on other things but R-CALF wants to hunt down ever imported animal and test them.

The OIE recommended the testing of 4D's(fallen stock on farms) to both the US and Canada and guess who isn't turning over their dead.

The OIE says to follow the science based appoarch to policy formulation but look what happens when they do?

The OIE said to adopt import export policies in accordance with International standards but when the USDA does they wind up in court.

The OIE says you aren't to put restrictions on an importing country that you yourself are not practicing on your domestic herd but R-CALF wants 100% testing on the Canadian herd for a few years to see the prevelliance in our Herd But the USDA is doing a one time testing of not the recommended 4D catagory but a very selective slaughter house catagory.
The OIE said the US was to act responsible when exporting potentially contaminated material, and then a report from the plant inspectors comes to light that the US slaughter plants aren't removing all the SRM's from the OTM catagory and are exporting the meat as UTM. And at the same time Canada runs a few tests on imported feed from the US and find undeclared animal protiens in them but can Canada go to the US and inspect the plants to see for themselves that rules are being followed like they did in Canada, no. But the USDA and the NCBA can come to Canada and inspect our feed mills for compliance. Canada can't even give the names of the exporting plants to the US authorities to have them check them as that is against the privacy laws.

As far as the very low compliance at the onset of the feed bans in Canada the USDA wouldn't want to go there as that 99% compliance rate they boost is very short lived and by investigation may not be able to be proved.

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