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R-CALF goes Back to Court

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Anonymous

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January 09, 2006 Phone: 406-672-8969;



Cattle Producers Request District Court Hearing on BSE Litigation



(Billings, Mont.) – R-CALF USA, on Friday, filed a motion in U.S. District Court – District of Montana (District Court) to request a hearing before U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull in its litigation against the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding the agency’s minimal risk rule (Final Rule) issued in January 2005, which dealt with opening the United States’ borders to cattle and beef products from countries affected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).



On March 2, 2005, the District Court issued a preliminary injunction, which prevented USDA’s Final Rule from being implemented and, in effect, continued a ban on the import of Canadian cattle and certain beef products into the United States. However, USDA appealed that decision, and in July 2005, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (9th Circuit) reversed the preliminary injunction, which reopened the Canadian border to live cattle under 30 months of age and beef from cattle under 30 months of age.



R-CALF USA’s position is that the 9th Circuit decision does not limit, or eliminate, the need for oral arguments of the case and a ruling by the District Court on the summary judgment motions filed by both R-CALF USA and USDA.



“In fact,” the motion states, “events since the briefing of the summary judgment motions only reinforce the need for this Court to review and vacate USDA’s January 4, 2005 Final Rule allowing importation of cattle and beef from Canada.”



R-CALF USA’s motion explains that the facts in the case had not been fully developed when the 9th Circuit considered only the narrower question of whether R-CALF USA was entitled to a preliminary injunction while the merits of the entire case were still being developed in the District Court.



“Back in July, the 9th Circuit heard only some very limited facts that were presented during the March hearing before Judge Cebull, and since then, even more scientific information has been discovered about BSE, indicating that USDA should be exercising more caution about this risk, not less,” explained R-CALF USA President and Co-Founder Leo McDonnell. “We’re asking the District Court to resume its consideration of our case, and in our motion we’ve pointed out the numerous inconsistencies in USDA’s actions that warrant a careful, critical review by Judge Cebull.”



The motion also points out that the 9th Circuit decision did not address all of the evidence and arguments R-CALF USA has now presented in its challenge against the Final Rule, including the evidence that indicates “USDA’s regulation of BSE has been guided by consideration of inappropriate factors rather than sound scientific judgment…a desire to have open trade with Canada and the express financial impact on multinational meatpackers…”



The 9th Circuit said that federal agencies generally should be granted “deference” in their decision-making, but in this case, deference to some of USDA’s conclusions simply is not warranted (see notes below). Because the 9th Circuit did not address these considerations, R-CALF USA’s motion argues the District Court should not feel bound by the 9th Circuit’s conclusion that no quantification is needed of the risk of such a major, precedent-setting action as the Final Rule.



The motion also references two recent federal rulemakings that demonstrate USDA is not applying sound scientific judgment to the BSE issue, and the motion points to USDA’s recent rule allowing the importation of beef from animals of any age from Japan (Japan Import Rule) – despite the fact Japan has not implemented the minimal preventive measures USDA determined were necessary for imports from countries known to have BSE.



“USDA’s assertions underpinning the Japan Import Rule are so inconsistent and contradictory to the assertions it made in the Final Rule that it leaves no doubt that USDA is ignoring science,” noted McDonnell. “USDA, and FDA for that matter, have failed to provide – for both the U.S. cattle herd and U.S. beef consumers – adequate protections against the increased risk caused by importing cattle and beef from BSE-afflicted countries, with many of those protection measures being recommended by leading U.S. and international BSE scientists.



“As a result, numerous pathways of BSE infectivity remain, and this has increased, rather than decreased, the United States’ risk of BSE, particularly given that we have now resumed imports of cattle and cattle products from countries with an inherently greater risk for BSE,” McDonnell continued. “In order to provide multinational meatpackers with cheap foreign supplies, USDA has left the U.S. with some of the least protective BSE mitigation requirements of any developed country, turning the U.S. into a dumping ground for meat and livestock other modern nations have banned.



“The solution is to immediately correct those known deficiencies,” he emphasized. “Recently, fast-food giant McDonald’s, as well as a group of the world’s foremost scientific experts on BSE, all filed formal comments with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that back up, with solid scientific research, the message and the position that R-CALF has maintained since the onset of our case.”



R-CALF USA Region IX Director James Fudge said that R-CALF USA’s motives, from the beginning, have been not only to strengthen our domestic safeguards against BSE, but also to get USDA to implement Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (M-COOL), and force the agency to harmonize global beef-trade practices.



“Our goal has been to work with the agency to these common ends, and avoid litigation if possible,” said Fudge. “But in the end, we had to stand up for what was right to ensure the long-term viability of cow/calf producers around the country.



“The ones most affected by USDA and FDA rules always have had the least influence with those running the agencies and making the decisions,” Fudge continued. “This court is the only place that has allowed us to be heard and for that we are grateful, regardless of the outcome.



“We hope in the future that USDA will spend as much time and effort responding to the needs of those affected by its rules as the agency has spent defending itself against those they are supposed to represent,” Fudge emphasized.

- - - - -

Note: A few examples to show why USDA should not be granted deference in this case and how wayward the agency has strayed from its own policies include the following:



1) USDA’s own procedures, when deciding whether to allow into the U.S. imports from a region potentially impacted by disease, state that while a qualitative risk analysis is generally adequate for regions considered to be free of certain diseases, regions in which the disease is known to exist due to recent outbreaks are deemed to pose a higher level of risk and have historically been approached quantitatively, because such an approach allows the assessment of specific risk concerns, testing of assumptions, analysis of attendant uncertainty, and evaluation of the effectiveness of proposed risk mitigation measures. USDA did not adhere to these standards when evaluating the risk of importing Canadian cattle and beef into the United States.



2) The “Animal Disease Risk Assessment, Prevention and Control Act of 2001, PL 107-9,” which was not considered in the 9th Circuit’s opinion on the preliminary injunction, reflects a congressional objective “to make certain that the Congress and the American public are fully informed as to the reliability of our nation’s animal health inspection system (and) its ability to protect our domestic herds and the American public from the potential introduction into the United States of” BSE.



3) USDA itself, in the Federal Register Notice for the Japan Import Rule, acknowledges the agency should not base its decisions on whether to restrict imports of cattle or beef from countries affected by BSE on potential effects to international trade, and yet USDA repeatedly has relaxed requirements for imports from Canada expressly to reduce an impact on trade.



4) USDA reversed its judgment that banning cattle from countries with BSE was one of the most important measures necessary to prevent the introduction of BSE into the United States – without the agency providing adequate justification and without referencing new information that could justify USDA’s reversal of its position.



5) In explaining its Final Rule to allow imports from Canada, USDA said Canada’s surveillance testing of cattle was one of three key BSE mitigation measures…only to proclaim less than a year later in its Japan Import Rule that surveillance testing is not a BSE mitigation measure at all.



6) FDA’s proposed amendments to the feed ban do not remove all of the loopholes USDA left in the Final Rule for FDA to address. However, FDA does acknowledge the validity of numerous concerns raised by R-CALF USA about the potential ineffectiveness of the feed ban — concerns that USDA has told the courts are inconsequential.



7) USDA’s BSE risk mitigation measures are not foolproof, although the agency would like the public and the courts to think they are. In August 2005, a load of cattle imported from Canada to Wisconsin included one animal over the age limit of 30 months, and eight pregnant heifers – violations of the Final Rule. Unfortunately, the animal over the age limit was slaughtered and the meat distributed without applying BSE mitigation measures. Media reports also quoted a Canadian official who confirmed that a total of 15 pregnant animals were detected in shipments from Ontario and western Canada. These instances confirm R-CALF USA’s concern that the Final Rule is inadequate to protect the U.S. from this type of risk.



8) Another example of the vulnerability of USDA’s BSE risk mitigation measures — but one that USDA never acknowledged in its assertion that Canadian imports present virtually no risk — recently was revealed by an investigation of the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) enforcement of policies to assure removal of specified risk materials (SRMs) from certain cattle. The investigation uncovered more than 1,000 violations of BSE risk mitigation measures over an 18-month period at slaughterhouses around the country – confirming that SRM removal policies were not comprehensively being implemented.



Note: To view the R-CALF USA’s complete motion and exhibits, visit www.r-calfusa.com and go to “News Releases.” Find the link to this particular news release, and you can access the PDF files there.



# # #



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 18,000 strong – are located in 47 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.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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R-CALF, R-CALF R-CALF Gotta keep the lawyers workin. R-CALF. now insert the sound of a whip crackin' They keep pushing this thing just like Gil Favor and Rowdy Yates on Rawhide :cowboy:
 
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Thankfully we now have an organization that won't always blindly follow, and questions the status quo...Its not like we have a government that decides by sound science or whats right, and not lobbyist bucks- which is being revealed in D.C. investigations right now.......
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Oldtimer said:
Thankfully we now have an organization that won't always blindly follow, and questions the status quo...Its not like we have a government that decides by sound science or whats right, and not lobbyist bucks- which is being revealed in D.C. investigations right now.......


You mean like Conrad Burns?
 
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Anonymous

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Big Muddy rancher said:
Oldtimer said:
Thankfully we now have an organization that won't always blindly follow, and questions the status quo...Its not like we have a government that decides by sound science or whats right, and not lobbyist bucks- which is being revealed in D.C. investigations right now.......


You mean like Conrad Burns?

Conrad and about 60 others are not smelling so well right now....I'd like to see the whole bunch get booted- maybe they'd start listening to the individuals and not the money :???: Wishful thinking probably......
 

Sandhusker

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Big Muddy rancher said:
R-CALF, R-CALF R-CALF Gotta keep the lawyers workin. R-CALF. now insert the sound of a whip crackin' They keep pushing this thing just like Gil Favor and Rowdy Yates on Rawhide :cowboy:

What other option does one have if the government isn't doing their job?
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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When we fail to see the big picture due to lack of knowledge or insight, it could be dismissed as niavety, or at best, innocence.

r-calf has long been past this stage.

When we intentionally fail to see how we fit into the big picture, it is called something else . . .

If you r-calfers want a better and completely accurate depiction of what you all are for maintaining this ill-advised (s)crap of yours, go look in the mirror, but only if you can bear to see a totally sick personalization of blatant, unabashed hypocrisy.
 

feeder

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I believe everyone should look into their own mirror and ask ourselves " What are our own personnal motives that dictate why we believe the way we do on this cattle issue". Is the reason money, beef safety, or accountabilty to consumers? I can't understand how our USDA could talk the talk about different means to ensure the safety of beef and then can't walk the walk to ensure it.
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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feeder said:
I believe everyone should look into their own mirror and ask ourselves " What are our own personnal motives that dictate why we believe the way we do on this cattle issue". Is the reason money, beef safety, or accountabilty to consumers? I can't understand how our USDA could talk the talk about different means to ensure the safety of beef and then can't walk the walk to ensure it.

Who will set the benchmark for honesty? And, who is capable of objective self analysis?
 

feeder

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I believe everyone is capable to be honest with themselves. If a person can't be honest to their ownself, who can they be honest with?
 

Sandhusker

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Maple Leaf Angus said:
When we fail to see the big picture due to lack of knowledge or insight, it could be dismissed as niavety, or at best, innocence.

r-calf has long been past this stage.

When we intentionally fail to see how we fit into the big picture, it is called something else . . .

If you r-calfers want a better and completely accurate depiction of what you all are for maintaining this ill-advised (s)crap of yours, go look in the mirror, but only if you can bear to see a totally sick personalization of blatant, unabashed hypocrisy.

So we are supposed to ignore the hypocracy of the US government in setting policy? We're supposed to allow the government to sell out our interests and jeopardize our futures for the benefit of a few huge multi-national packers? Maybe I'm reading you wrong - the sick personalization of blatant unabashed hypocracy that you're referring to must be the USDA's.
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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Sandhusker said:
Maple Leaf Angus said:
When we fail to see the big picture due to lack of knowledge or insight, it could be dismissed as niavety, or at best, innocence.

r-calf has long been past this stage.

When we intentionally fail to see how we fit into the big picture, it is called something else . . .

If you r-calfers want a better and completely accurate depiction of what you all are for maintaining this ill-advised (s)crap of yours, go look in the mirror, but only if you can bear to see a totally sick personalization of blatant, unabashed hypocrisy.

So we are supposed to ignore the hypocracy of the US government in setting policy? We're supposed to allow the government to sell out our interests and jeopardize our futures for the benefit of a few huge multi-national packers? Maybe I'm reading you wrong - the sick personalization of blatant unabashed hypocracy that you're referring to must be the USDA's.

Good one, Mr. Teflon.

It almost didn't stick! Almost. :dunce:
 

Sandhusker

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Maple Leaf Angus said:
Sandhusker said:
Maple Leaf Angus said:
When we fail to see the big picture due to lack of knowledge or insight, it could be dismissed as niavety, or at best, innocence.

r-calf has long been past this stage.

When we intentionally fail to see how we fit into the big picture, it is called something else . . .

If you r-calfers want a better and completely accurate depiction of what you all are for maintaining this ill-advised (s)crap of yours, go look in the mirror, but only if you can bear to see a totally sick personalization of blatant, unabashed hypocrisy.

So we are supposed to ignore the hypocracy of the US government in setting policy? We're supposed to allow the government to sell out our interests and jeopardize our futures for the benefit of a few huge multi-national packers? Maybe I'm reading you wrong - the sick personalization of blatant unabashed hypocracy that you're referring to must be the USDA's.

Good one, Mr. Teflon.

It almost didn't stick! Almost. :dunce:

Point out for me what is incorrect in the article.
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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Sandhusker said:
Maple Leaf Angus said:
Sandhusker said:
So we are supposed to ignore the hypocracy of the US government in setting policy? We're supposed to allow the government to sell out our interests and jeopardize our futures for the benefit of a few huge multi-national packers? Maybe I'm reading you wrong - the sick personalization of blatant unabashed hypocracy that you're referring to must be the USDA's.

Good one, Mr. Teflon.

It almost didn't stick! Almost. :dunce:

Point out for me what is incorrect in the article.

Would that not mean that you actually want to see? Don't waste my time.

Oh, and by the way, watch your table, bankerboy. The moneychangers have been known to get dislocated if they wouldn't either conform to or get out of the way of truth.
 
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Maple Leaf- You call R-CALF and US cattle producers hyprocrites when they go to court against the USDA, FDA, and the feed industry to implement rules to protect the US consumer, US cattle herd, and US cattle industry---BUT then Canadian cattle producers turn around and go to court against their Government, the CFIA, and the feed industry...Talk about HYPOCRITES......

But at least you did it for good reasons :wink: ....GREED....MONEY...$20 BILLION REASONS...
 

Sandhusker

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MLA, "Would that not mean that you actually want to see? Don't waste my time."

No, it means instead of waggling your tongue and wailing at R-CALF with vague generalities, step up and actually point out in that article where they are wrong. I think you are the one who doesn't actually want to see the hypocracy of the USDA. Either that or you do see it but simply cannot admit R-CALF has a valid point.

MLA, "Oh, and by the way, watch your table, bankerboy. The moneychangers have been known to get dislocated if they wouldn't either conform to or get out of the way of truth."

I have absolutely no idea of what you're talking about there.
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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Well now, that's an interesting reaction ot! Not too long ago you were crowing about how much fun it is to needle the Canadians on this board. You seem fairly reactive yourself.


Gee whiz man, develop a little skin thickness, will ya?

Or do you just like kicking guys when they're down and vulnerable?

Ah well, what can we expect from someone approaching senility, eh?
 

Manitoba_Rancher

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Oldtimer said:
Maple Leaf- You call R-CALF and US cattle producers hyprocrites when they go to court against the USDA, FDA, and the feed industry to implement rules to protect the US consumer, US cattle herd, and US cattle industry---BUT then Canadian cattle producers turn around and go to court against their Government, the CFIA, and the feed industry...Talk about HYPOCRITES......

But at least you did it for good reasons :wink: ....GREED....MONEY...$20 BILLION REASONS...


OT- I think you should leave this up to the "real cattle ranchers" and not some old horse farmer rancher wannabe... You definately belong with [email protected]$ I mean R-calf
 

Econ101

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Manitoba_Rancher said:
Oldtimer said:
Maple Leaf- You call R-CALF and US cattle producers hyprocrites when they go to court against the USDA, FDA, and the feed industry to implement rules to protect the US consumer, US cattle herd, and US cattle industry---BUT then Canadian cattle producers turn around and go to court against their Government, the CFIA, and the feed industry...Talk about HYPOCRITES......

But at least you did it for good reasons :wink: ....GREED....MONEY...$20 BILLION REASONS...


OT- I think you should leave this up to the "real cattle ranchers" and not some old horse farmer rancher wannabe... You definately belong with [email protected]$ I mean R-calf

While their criticism of rcalf seeking the courts can be pointed out as hipocritical(assuming it is the same ones who are posting criticism of rcalf seeking legal releif on this board), at least it is a step in the right direction of making those who may really be responsible for the BSE losses accountable.

I seem to think that McDonalds will have better success. Packers don't listen to their producers, they listen to their customers.
 

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