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R-CALF Disputes Packer Allies

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Amicus Brief Pits Organizations Allied with Meatpackers Against Independent Cattle Producers; Statements are Blatant Misrepresentation of Facts


(Billings, Mont.) – The following statement should be attributed to R-CALF USA President and Co-Founder Leo McDonnell regarding the Amicus Brief filed Wednesday in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and others:



“Independent cattle producers understand the importance of maintaining stringent health and safety import controls to protect their industry against diseases like BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy).



“We’re disappointed that NCBA, the AFBF and other groups have lined up with a handful of multi-national meatpackers against independent cattle producers across the United States. These organizations are aggressively working to help these multi-national meatpackers to achieve their economic self-interests, specifically to regain access to cheaper Canadian cattle, regardless of the risks to domestic cattle producers.



“Statements from these organizations indicate these groups wholeheartedly support the so-called ‘sound science’ presented in earlier litigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as the agency tried unsuccessfully to defend its Final Rule to reopen the Canadian border to live cattle and additional beef products.



“But buyer beware – these groups claim BSE is not a public health risk or herd health risk when precautions are in place to protect consumers and cattle, and that the U.S. – and Canada – have these firewalls in place.



“NCBA’s chief executive director of regulatory affairs, Gary Weber, was quoted as saying that ‘the World Organization for Animal Health has documented, and many scientific studies have documented, that removal of the specified risk materials (like the brain, spinal cord and certain other tissues) are a fully effective way of protecting public health.’



“But the great ‘error of omission’ by NCBA and AFBF is their failure to disclose to the public exactly which specified risk materials (SRMs) are removed from Canadian cattle, and compare that to exactly which SRMs are removed by all other BSE-affected countries as recommended by the OIE.



“In Canada, only the tonsils and the small intestines are removed from animals under 30 months of age. All other SRMs (brain, eyes, spinal cord and vertebrae) remain intact and are free to enter the human food supply.



“However, according to OIE standards, Canada – because of the number of BSE cases discovered so far and because Canada has not had an effectively enforced feed ban in place for at least 8 years– should be removing all SRMs from all animals over 12 months of age. Canada does not do this and is practicing the weakest mitigation measures of any BSE-affected country in the world, including countries that have detected fewer than five cases of BSE, such as Israel, Austria, Finland, Greece, Luxembourg – and, like Canada itself. To our export customers like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, this is a big deal – a huge deal.



“Reopening the Canadian border would be dangerously premature. Until, and unless, NCBA and AFBF can adequately explain to producers why we should allow in beef and cattle from a BSE-affected country that practices the least stringent risk-mitigation measures, a BSE-affected country that tests far fewer animals than what’s adequate, and a BSE-affected country that refuses to label its product so U.S. consumers can make informed choices about food for their families, the border should remain closed.



“The best way to eliminate the ban on imports of Canadian cattle is for Canada to demonstrate it has eradicated BSE from its herd. Increased testing would provide scientifically valid results on the prevalence of BSE in Canada, and based on that information, we could determine whether a risk – at whatever level it may turn out to be – would be acceptable to the U.S. cattle industry.



“NCBA and AFBF should also explain to independent producers why it is that the most recent markets to reopen to U.S. beef have done so under the condition that we not co-mingle Canadian beef in our export shipments to those countries. These strict conditions against co-mingling indicate a complete lack of international confidence in Canada’s BSE program. The longer Canada resists an adequate level of testing, the longer it will be before Canada can restore confidence in the minds of its consumers – in the U.S. and abroad.



“The economic analysis in USDA’s Final Rule clearly states Canadian cattle producers, Canadian suppliers of ruminants and ruminant products, and meatpackers and processors are the industry segments that will benefit from relaxed U.S. import standards.



“The Final Rule projects a loss to U.S. cattle producers of $2.5 billion if the rule is implemented. This doesn’t include any losses that could occur if U.S. consumers perceive Canadian beef to be risky.



“Interestingly, USDA’s projected loss for cattle producers is more than the $2 billion cost the agency estimated for implementing mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) – a cost that these organizations, the USDA, and the multinational meatpackers said would severely damage the financial condition of independent cattle producers.



“R-CALF USA would hope that independent producers would contact NCBA and the AFBF to ask why a ‘guestimated’ cost of $2 billion for COOL – which had a potential for increased profits – was unacceptable, while a $2.5 billion loss from relaxed import restrictions – with no projected benefits – is acceptable.



“But these observations are not the reason R-CALF USA has taken its stand against the Final Rule. The Final Rule – without dispute – will increase the risk of introducing BSE into the United States. The question is: ‘How much it will increase this risk?’



“USDA claims the increase in risk is ‘low.’ R-CALF USA challenged USDA, claiming that such a vague assessment of the risk is inadequate for the $40 billion U.S. live cattle industry, an industry that deserves to have a scientifically based risk estimate so an informed decision can be made regarding whether such an increase in risk is acceptable.



“An NCBA news release dated April 20th states that the organizations which jointly signed on to this amicus brief represent more than 85 percent of U.S. cattle farms and ranches, 75 percent of the nation’s cattle, and that AFBF represents 5.6 million farm families.



“Obviously, when you look at those inflated numbers, you know right away these organizations represent far more than just the interests of production agriculture. According to data from the 2002 Agriculture Census, there are only 2.1 million farms left in the United States. And, according to the latest information on USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) website, there are only 774,630 independent businesses that raise beef cattle, down from 800,000 one year ago.”
 

Murgen

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Hey OT- Do you have any "NEW" info. or do 90% of the people on this site have to refute these statements again, over and over!
 

Silver

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Gaaaaawwwwwd that drivel gets old fast. I guess they work on the principle that if you say something stupid long enough people might actually start believing it. OT must have been one of the first ones brainwashed.
 
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Anonymous

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The number one issue in this post and the million dollar question I would like to see answered at trial is how come their are so many different standards being used thruout the world concerning SRM removal---And exactly what is being removed where, and why?--Never have got a clear picture on this......A trial would be a good place to get the science discussed and decided....What parts constitute SRM's ?
 

Kato

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Government of Canada
Factsheet

OVERVIEW OF CANADA'S BSE SAFEGUARDS
This document provides a comprehensive summary of Canada’s actions to address bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). It outlines the nature of the disease, the likely introduction of BSE into Canada, and the measures that have been implemented since 1990 to limit risks to human and animal health.

These safeguards have limited Canada’s exposure to BSE from known affected countries and reduced the potential for the spread of BSE within Canada. As a result, the level of BSE in Canada is extremely low and declining. Canada’s safeguards also include the removal of potentially harmful cattle tissues from the human food supply. This and other measures within the meat inspection system protect the safety of Canadian beef and beef products from BSE.

BSE and vCJD
BSE, also known as "mad cow disease," is a progressive, fatal disease of the central nervous system of cattle. The disease was first confirmed in southern England in December 1986. A rapid rise in the number of cases of BSE in the United Kingdom followed the initial diagnosis, with a yearly peak of 37,280 confirmed cases in 1992.

Although the origin of BSE in cattle remains unconfirmed, the epidemic is believed to have resulted from feeding cattle meat-and-bone meal (rendered ruminant protein) containing the tissues of BSE-infected animals, beginning in the 1970s. Several factors may have combined to produce the epidemic, including changes to the rendering process in the United Kingdom and the increased use of meat-and-bone meal in calf feed in the years preceding the outbreak. The decline of the epidemic is due to the introduction of feed controls. There is no evidence to indicate that BSE is a contagious disease.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), a rare human disease that affects the central nervous system, was first diagnosed in the United Kingdom in 1996. Scientific evidence indicates that vCJD is caused by the same agent that causes BSE in cattle. This is a significant finding, as before 1996 it was not believed that BSE could be naturally transmitted from cattle to humans. It is widely believed that the human cases of vCJD appearing in the United Kingdom and Europe are the result of eating cattle tissues infected with the BSE agent. Medical authorities believe that both the Canadian and American vCJD patients contracted the disease during one of multiple extended stays in the United Kingdom during the 1980s and 1990s.

No cases of vCJD have been linked to eating Canadian beef, and, based on the measures described below, the risk of contracting vCJD in Canada is extremely small.

A Low Level of BSE Enters North America
BSE likely entered North America during the 1980s when Canada and the United States imported a limited number of cattle from the United Kingdom. Given the long incubation period of BSE, some of these cattle could have been infected with BSE despite appearing healthy when entering either country. Canada imported 191 such animals during this period. One of these cattle, in 1993, tested positive for BSE and was diverted from the food and feed systems. With the exception of 68 animals that had already died or been slaughtered, all cattle imported during the 1980s and remaining in Canada were identified, euthanized and tested negative for BSE. Of the 68 animals, 10 are considered to have posed the greatest risk because they originated from farms in the United Kingdom that later reported cases of BSE.

Import Controls Restrict Offshore Exposure
In 1990, based on the dramatic increase of BSE in the United Kingdom, Canada restricted the importation of cattle from the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Over the following years, Canada continued to bolster its BSE safeguards, expanding the regions from which animals, certain feeds and ruminant products were restricted. The United States also introduced similar import measures. However, the movement of animals and animal products between Canada and the United States continued.

Although a low level of BSE had already entered North America prior to 1990, the measures taken since that time effectively restricted the subsequent entry of further BSE into Canada and the United States. Because of the shared BSE risk and the high level of integration of Canadian and American cattle industries, both countries have continued to take consistent measures to jointly manage the risks of this disease in North America.

Controls Limit BSE Spread
It is probable that one or a few potentially infected animals imported into Canada before 1990 would have entered the animal feed system. Rendered meat and bone meal from such animals would have been included in cattle feed, which was permitted at the time, and led to the development of additional cases of BSE. The same scenario would have been equally possible in the United States, where similar feed practices were followed. In 1997, acting on the recommendations of the World Health Organization, Canada and the United States introduced preemptive feed bans. At that time, this recycling of infectivity would have been dramatically reduced, and the level of BSE present in Canada would have crested and, through normal attrition due to slaughter and death, begun to decline.

Canadian and American feed controls are virtually identical and closely monitored, although the possibility of cross-contamination of ruminant feeds with prohibited materials exists in both countries’ complex animal feed production systems. However, based on the experiences in countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canadian and American feed controls would still have effectively limited the spread of BSE and can be expected to lead to the eventual eradication of the disease.

The number of cases detected in North America indicates that only an extremely low level of BSE is present in this part of the world. Based on this finding, there is only a small possibility that an infected animal could enter the animal feed system. If this were to happen, rendering practices would decrease the level of infectivity. Then, cattle could only be exposed to infective material if cross-contamination occurred during production or transport, or there was inappropriate on-farm feeding.

In addition, not all cattle are equally susceptible to developing BSE. Research has shown that the majority of animals become infected early in life, usually within their first year. Most of these young animals, in keeping with normal North American industry practices, would be slaughtered before infective levels of the disease could develop.

Canada on the Watch for BSE
Since 1990, BSE has been a reportable disease in Canada. This means that, by law, all suspected cases of BSE must be reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

In 1992, Canada began actively monitoring the national cattle herd for animals with clinical signs consistent with BSE. This surveillance program is intended to monitor the level of BSE in the national cattle herd. Over the years, surveillance levels have been regularly enhanced and, since 1996, annually met or exceeded the intensity recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health.

Canada’s surveillance testing targets the highest risk animals for BSE. Since 2003, the surveillance program has detected three cases of domestic BSE out of 35,000 tests conducted in this high risk population, providing further evidence that the level of BSE in Canada is extremely low. Canada encourages the nation-wide reporting of BSE suspects through a reimbursement program for producers and veterinarians, and various awareness and education materials. All animals tested are held pending final results.

The surveillance program also provides an indication of how well measures such as the feed ban and import controls are working. To date, surveillance results indicate that the feed ban is effectively limiting the spread of BSE. If the feed ban had allowed BSE to continue to spread through the animal feed system, the number of animals detected within Canada’s targeted surveillance regime would be much higher.

More telling than the number of cases is the older age of the affected animals found in Canada (6-8 years). Research has shown that higher doses of the BSE agent will shorten the incubation period, leading to the development of disease symptoms at an earlier age. The fact that the surveillance program has not detected BSE in younger animals provides further evidence that the feed ban has limited the recycling and prevented amplification of the BSE agent in the feed system.

Slaughter Practices Reduce Food Safety Risks
In Canada, the majority of cattle are slaughtered at less than two years of age. Considering the long incubation period of BSE, these animals, if infected, would be considerably less likely to develop infective levels of the disease.

Even if infected animals were to survive long enough to develop into full-blown BSE cases, most of these animals would not leave their farms as they would be dead, down or displaying neurological signs. If some animals displaying neurological signs were sent for slaughter, they would be screened out during pre-slaughter inspection.

Removal of SRM - The Final Safeguard
As outlined above, Canada’s BSE safeguards work together to systematically limit the risks associated with BSE. Import restrictions prevent additional infectivity from entering Canada, the feed ban continues to limit BSE spread and decrease the level of the disease present in Canada, and inspection at slaughter removes potentially affected animals from the food system.

After all these safeguards have reduced potential risk, Canada implements an additional measure to maintain food safety. Research has shown that BSE concentrates in certain parts of infected cattle. These tissues, known as specified risk material (SRM), are removed from all animals slaughtered for human consumption.

This measure is internationally recognized as the most effective way to protect human health from BSE. Removing SRM means that even if an infected animal enters the slaughter system the resulting meat and meat products do not contain those tissues known to contain BSE.

Looking Ahead
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency expects that it may find a small number of additional cases of BSE as Canada’s surveillance program continues to test high-risk cattle from the national herd. However, because of the suite of measures already in place, these cases would not increase risks to food safety or animal health.

Canada is working toward the eradication of BSE from the national cattle herd. While Canada’s existing feed ban will eventually accomplish this goal, enhancements are being proposed to accelerate this process. Canada has proposed to require the removal of SRM from all animal feeds. This action would minimize the risks associated with potential cross-contamination or on-farm misuse of feed, thereby further limiting BSE spread and increasing the speed with which BSE will be eliminated from Canada.

For further information on Canada's BSE safeguards, including a detailed technical report, please contact the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342.
 

Chuckie

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around and around and around we go; where we get off, nobody knows..this is why i rarely even get on here any more--YOU'RE BORING!!!!
 

S.S.A.P.

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Oldtimer
The number one issue in this post and the million dollar question I would like to see answered at trial is how come their are so many different standards being used thruout the world concerning SRM removal---And exactly what is being removed where, and why?--Never have got a clear picture on this......

You might try asking Leo McDonnell :???: He must have studied the policies of Israel, Austria, Finland, Greece, Luxembourg, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan to write his little reports. Kato offered the Canadian fact sheet, if you still can't grasp it by all means feel free to visit;
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/heasan/disemala/bseesb/bseesbindexe.shtml

>>>>> and a search on the OIE site .... 500 plus pages in the search results!
Oldtimer these might help you with your "---And exactly what is being removed where, and why?"

http://www.oie.int/search/search.asp?SearchString=specified+risk+materials+bse&action=search&SearchStringh=&pg=&help=0&lang=en&slang=en




Oldtimer
......A trial would be a good place to get the science discussed and decided....What parts constitute SRM's ?


Are you and R-calf just looking to discuss and decide what consitutes SRM's in the U.S. or are you taking it upon yourselves to decide for all the countries of the World. 167 Member Countries in the OIE (who's standards are recognized by the World Trade Organization) and a R-calf "trial" will discuss and decide....... :???: :shock:

press releases - sorry not from r-calf
http://www.oie.int/eng/press/en_040109.htm
http://www.oie.int/eng/press/en_031002.htm

Or is this (OIE) all irrelevant theory and we should just heed r-calf's word at "the trial"? :wink:
 
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Anonymous

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S.S.A.P. said:
Oldtimer
The number one issue in this post and the million dollar question I would like to see answered at trial is how come their are so many different standards being used thruout the world concerning SRM removal---And exactly what is being removed where, and why?--Never have got a clear picture on this......

You might try asking Leo McDonnell :???: He must have studied the policies of Israel, Austria, Finland, Greece, Luxembourg, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan to write his little reports. Kato offered the Canadian fact sheet, if you still can't grasp it by all means feel free to visit;
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/heasan/disemala/bseesb/bseesbindexe.shtml

>>>>> and a search on the OIE site .... 500 plus pages in the search results!
Oldtimer these might help you with your "---And exactly what is being removed where, and why?"

http://www.oie.int/search/search.asp?SearchString=specified+risk+materials+bse&action=search&SearchStringh=&pg=&help=0&lang=en&slang=en




Oldtimer
......A trial would be a good place to get the science discussed and decided....What parts constitute SRM's ?


Are you and R-calf just looking to discuss and decide what consitutes SRM's in the U.S. or are you taking it upon yourselves to decide for all the countries of the World. 167 Member Countries in the OIE (who's standards are recognized by the World Trade Organization) and a R-calf "trial" will discuss and decide....... :???: :shock:

press releases - sorry not from r-calf
http://www.oie.int/eng/press/en_040109.htm
http://www.oie.int/eng/press/en_031002.htm

Or is this (OIE) all irrelevant theory and we should just heed r-calf's word at "the trial"? :wink:

S.S.A.P.-- When you read the term SRM's-- what exactly does that mean to you? What body parts or organs constitute SRM's to you?
 

S.S.A.P.

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I'll let you answer my question(s) first OT, age before beauty :wink: :)

Oldtimer
The number one issue in this post and the million dollar question I would like to see answered at trial is how come their are so many different standards being used thruout the world concerning SRM removal---And exactly what is being removed where, and why?--Never have got a clear picture on this......

Are you and R-calf just looking to discuss and decide what consitutes SRM's in the U.S. or are you taking it upon yourselves to decide for all the countries of the World. 167 Member Countries in the OIE (who's standards are recognized by the World Trade Organization) and a R-calf "trial" will discuss and decide....... :???: :shock:

press releases - sorry not from r-calf
http://www.oie.int/eng/press/en_040109.htm
http://www.oie.int/eng/press/en_031002.htm

Or is this (OIE) all irrelevant theory and we should just heed r-calf's word at "the trial"? :wink:
 
A

Anonymous

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S.S.A.P. said:
I'll let you answer my question(s) first OT, age before beauty :wink: :)

Oldtimer
The number one issue in this post and the million dollar question I would like to see answered at trial is how come their are so many different standards being used thruout the world concerning SRM removal---And exactly what is being removed where, and why?--Never have got a clear picture on this......

Are you and R-calf just looking to discuss and decide what consitutes SRM's in the U.S. or are you taking it upon yourselves to decide for all the countries of the World. 167 Member Countries in the OIE (who's standards are recognized by the World Trade Organization) and a R-calf "trial" will discuss and decide....... :???: :shock:

press releases - sorry not from r-calf
http://www.oie.int/eng/press/en_040109.htm
http://www.oie.int/eng/press/en_031002.htm

Or is this (OIE) all irrelevant theory and we should just heed r-calf's word at "the trial"? :wink:

I can't answer for R-CALF....But personally what I would like to see come out in trial is what the scientists say is SRM's- what should be removed- we need a solid decision on that....And what is now being removed or being required to be removed by USDA on both the domestic and imported beef....All I've seen in 20 different places is different standards and requirements-- Is brain material a SRM? Then why isn't it on the list of removed items from all beef- how about tongue? Some countries consider it a SRM... How about some organ meats- same thing there...Somewhere I saw that the SRM proposal for UTM was not the same as the OTM-- and then I would like to see USDA explain the sound science of guaranteeing all US beef to Japan is under 20 months old, while they will allow Canada ( a higher risk country) to send in under 30 month olds for the US consumer........
 

Sandhusker

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I don't think this trial can define SRMs. That would probably have to come from the OIE.
 

Bill

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Oldtimer said:
S.S.A.P. said:
I'll let you answer my question(s) first OT, age before beauty :wink: :)

Oldtimer
The number one issue in this post and the million dollar question I would like to see answered at trial is how come their are so many different standards being used thruout the world concerning SRM removal---And exactly what is being removed where, and why?--Never have got a clear picture on this......

Are you and R-calf just looking to discuss and decide what consitutes SRM's in the U.S. or are you taking it upon yourselves to decide for all the countries of the World. 167 Member Countries in the OIE (who's standards are recognized by the World Trade Organization) and a R-calf "trial" will discuss and decide....... :???: :shock:

press releases - sorry not from r-calf
http://www.oie.int/eng/press/en_040109.htm
http://www.oie.int/eng/press/en_031002.htm

Or is this (OIE) all irrelevant theory and we should just heed r-calf's word at "the trial"? :wink:

I can't answer for R-CALF....But personally what I would like to see come out in trial is what the scientists say is SRM's- what should be removed- we need a solid decision on that....And what is now being removed or being required to be removed by USDA on both the domestic and imported beef....All I've seen in 20 different places is different standards and requirements-- Is brain material a SRM? Then why isn't it on the list of removed items from all beef- how about tongue? Some countries consider it a SRM... How about some organ meats- same thing there...Somewhere I saw that the SRM proposal for UTM was not the same as the OTM-- and then I would like to see USDA explain the sound science of guaranteeing all US beef to Japan is under 20 months old, while they will allow Canada ( a higher risk country) to send in under 30 month olds for the US consumer........

Of course "brain material?" is an SRM that's where the sample comes from!

Taken off the CFIA website. This practice was approve July 18, 2003.
Specified risk materials are tissues that, in BSE-infected cattle, contain the agent that may transmit the disease. In diseased animals, the infective agent is concentrated in certain tissues. SRM are defined as the skull, brain, trigeminal ganglia (nerves attached to the brain), eyes, tonsils, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia (nerves attached to the spinal cord) of cattle aged 30 months or older (scientific research has shown that these tissues, in cattle younger than 30 months, do not contain the infective agent); and the distal ileum (portion of the small intestine) of cattle of all ages.

Many do not believe Canada to be (a higher risk country) than the US. That's just another R-Calfism.
 

mrj

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Oldtimer said:
Amicus Brief Pits Organizations Allied with “An NCBA news release dated April 20th states that the organizations which jointly signed on to this amicus brief represent more than 85 percent of U.S. cattle farms and ranches, 75 percent of the nation’s cattle, and that AFBF represents 5.6 million farm families.



“Obviously, when you look at those inflated numbers, you know right away these organizations represent far more than just the interests of production agriculture. According to data from the 2002 Agriculture Census, there are only 2.1 million farms left in the United States. And, according to the latest information on USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) website, there are only 774,630 independent businesses that raise beef cattle, down from 800,000 one year ago.”

Did it never occur to those professionals who wrote and edited this piece that, if their numbers are accurate, it is very likely also true that it is not unreasonable to believe there could be 5.6 million farm families living on 2.1 million farms?

We operate one ranch and there are three families living on it. We know of many others farms and ranches with even more families living on them.

It is interesting that they had to focus on such an inconsequential thing to find another item to complain about.

MRJ

MRJ
 

Murgen

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I can't answer for R-CALF....But personally what I would like to see come out in trial is what the scientists say is SRM's

You've been answering for them all along, why stop now! So, if the world consenous is one way, you'll agree? or will you still find a problem with it all?
 

Murgen

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Taken off the CFIA website. This practice was approve July 18, 2003.
Specified risk materials are tissues that, in BSE-infected cattle, contain the agent that may transmit the disease. In diseased animals, the infective agent is concentrated in certain tissues. SRM are defined as the skull, brain, trigeminal ganglia (nerves attached to the brain), eyes, tonsils, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia (nerves attached to the spinal cord) of cattle aged 30 months or older (scientific research has shown that these tissues, in cattle younger than 30 months, do not contain the infective agent); and the distal ileum (portion of the small intestine) of cattle of all ages.

There you go OT, there's Canada's definition of SRM's, what is the US's and the OIE's?
 

Murgen

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Forgot one point. OT if you had your way, would all muscle cuts be included on the list of SRM's? That would get rid of a lot of imported beef wouldn't it?
 

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