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R-CALF Stand

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Anonymous

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April 5, 2005


Editorial by R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard


Why So Many Independent Businesses are Taking a Stand Against

the Powerful Meatpackers and the United States Department of Agriculture





Among the United States’ most geographically dispersed small businesses are the 774,630 independent businesses that raise beef cattle. These independent businesses comprise the U.S. cattle industry, which is by far the largest beef producer in the world. These independent businesses contribute nearly $40 billion annually to the U.S. economy. As such, they are critically important to the financial well being of the U.S. economy, and Rural America in particular.



These independent cattle-raising businesses are the foundation for the nation’s $175 billion beef industry. They operate in a global market, facing fierce competition from other beef-producing countries of the world. Foreign competitors are aggressively working to capture a greater share of the world’s largest beef-consuming market – the U.S. market – which consumes 27 billion pounds of beef annually, or nearly 150 percent more than is consumed by the second largest beef consuming nation.



No cattle industry in the world has more at stake than the U.S. cattle industry in protecting the health and safety of U.S. consumers and the U.S. cattle herd. Neither the Mexican, Brazilian, Argentinean, New Zealand, Australian, Central American, Uruguayan, nor Canadian cattle industries are as concerned as the U.S. cattle industry for maintaining the highest level of consumer confidence in the U.S. beef supply. These foreign competitors exported approximately 5 billion pounds of beef and beef equivalent to the United States in 2002 (representing about 19 percent of the U.S. beef-consuming market).



The U.S. cattle industry has maintained its larger market share because it has a distinct advantage. It is not the low-cost producer; it does not have the largest cattle herd (ranking 4th in herd size); and it is not the largest exporter (ranked 9th in the world in 2004). The competitive advantage held by the U.S. cattle industry in the world’s largest market is that it produces cattle in the United States, which happens to be the world’s leader in promoting livestock health and protecting consumer food-safety. The U.S. cattle industry’s competitive advantage is that it holds itself to the highest health and safety standards.



The U.S. cattle industry is fighting to keep this competitive advantage against efforts by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a handful of multi-national meatpackers that want to level the playing field by lowering U.S. standards to a lowest common denominator.



The USDA already blocked the domestic cattle industry from providing consumers a country-of-origin label on beef products so they could choose to purchase U.S.A. beef. As a result, consumer confidence in U.S. beef remains tied to consumer perceptions about the health of foreign cattle and safety of foreign beef. After all, without labels, consumers cannot distinguish U.S.A. beef from imported beef.



In May 2003, a long-standing U.S. import standard required the U.S. to ban imports of beef and cattle from Canada, after it became the 23rd country in the world to detect bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in its native cattle herd.



Despite multiple detections of BSE in Canadian cattle, the political influence from a handful of multi-national meatpackers soon outweighed USDA’s resolve to protect the U.S. against the introduction of BSE.



In April 2004, the trade association representing the U.S. cattle industry - R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) – caught USDA in the act of allowing these multi-national packers to import Canadian beef products prohibited under U.S. law. R-CALF USA filed a lawsuit that protected the U.S. cattle herd and U.S. consumers from this unlawful action through December 2004.



In January 2005, under continued pressure from the multi-national meatpackers to relax U.S. import standards -- so said packers could access cheaper cattle from a country known to have BSE – USDA issued a faulty rule to relax U.S. import standards without properly assessing the risk that action would have on either human health or animal health. For the first time in history, USDA tried to set its health and safety standards well below the internationally recommended standards, and well below the standards practiced by every country in the world affected by BSE.



In response to USDA’s rule to systematically reduce the United States’ science-based health and safety standards simply to allow Canada to comply with U.S. law, R-CALF USA took a stand. On behalf of the 774,630 independent businesses that comprise the U.S. cattle industry, R-CALF USA challenged USDA’s attempt to satisfy the financial self-interests of a handful of multi-national meatpackers, at the expense of the critically important U.S. cattle industry and the cattle industry’s most valued customer – the U.S. consumer.



These independent businesses are taking this stand because they understand their commitment to U.S. consumers to provide only the safest beef, produced under the safest of conditions.



# # #



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 14,000 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.
 

Murgen

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The USDA already blocked the domestic cattle industry from providing consumers a country-of-origin label on beef products so they could choose to purchase U.S.A. beef. As a result, consumer confidence in U.S. beef remains tied to consumer perceptions about the health of foreign cattle and safety of foreign beef. After all, without labels, consumers cannot distinguish U.S.A. beef from imported beef

And consumer confidence changed how after this blockage?

Neither the Mexican, Brazilian, Argentinean, New Zealand, Australian, Central American, Uruguayan, nor Canadian cattle industries are as concerned as the U.S. cattle industry for maintaining the highest level of consumer confidence in the U.S. beef supply

I beg to differ, aren't the Australians using this consumer confidence to sell more product in Japan?



[/quote]In response to USDA’s rule to systematically reduce the United States’ science-based health and safety standards simply to allow Canada to comply with U.S. law, R-CALF USA took a stand. On behalf of the 774,630 independent businesses that comprise the U.S. cattle industry, R-CALF USA challenged USDA’s attempt to satisfy the financial self-interests of a handful of multi-national meatpackers, at the expense of the critically important U.S. cattle industry and the cattle industry’s most valued customer – the U.S. consumer
Wouldn't the consumer be better served if R-calf injunctioned the sale of beef totally, if they believe that the USDA, FDA and APHIS are doing a poor job of protecting the US citizens from unsafe practises? They have said that feed regulations, etc are not based on science have they not?
 

Tam

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Among the United States’ most geographically dispersed small businesses are the 774,630 independent businesses that raise beef cattle.

I have to wonder what the other 762630 non member independent businessmen think of R-CALF's lawsuit that is possibly tying up a resolution to the Japan export market?


USDA issued a faulty rule to relax U.S. import standards without properly assessing the risk that action would have on either human health or animal health.

Gee I thought Leo said Harvard told the US that the safeguards that you have in place were the most important things you could do to protect the US beef industry and at the same time they said that Canada had the same and in some cases stronger safeguards than the US. How many more accessments do you think it will take Oldtimer to prove we are at less of a risk as we have stronger firewalls in place?

In response to USDA’s rule to systematically reduce the United States’ science-based health and safety standards simply to allow Canada to comply with U.S. law,

Are these not the same rules all minimal risk countries will be able to export by including the US of A. as you are also minimal risk or have you forgot that fact?

As a result, consumer confidence in U.S. beef remains tied to consumer perceptions about the health of foreign cattle and safety of foreign beef. After all, without labels, consumers cannot distinguish U.S.A. beef from imported beef.

Wouldn't this be a real good reason to shut your lieing mouths about the safety of another countries beef. Oh I know if we had MCOOL people would know. They will also know it is US beef they are eating as soon as BSE is found in the US and then all those lies about Canadian beef will come back to bite you where you sit.


These independent businesses are taking this stand because they understand their commitment to U.S. consumers to provide only the safest beef, produced under the safest of conditions.

The U.S. cattle industry’s competitive advantage is that it holds itself to the highest health and safety standards.

What was the safest conditions and the Highest standards Bullard was talking about. Oldtimer weren't you the one that said the Canadians should come down to lobby the USDA to get a few of the loopholes in your system closed up so your system could be trusted to process imported cattle? If your system can't be trusted with imported cattle how can it be trust with the cattle living in the US?
 

rancher

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I see they gained a 1000 members in a month.
 

Murgen

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Hat, who did you quote in this last post, it was definitely not myself. were you quoting Bullard again?
 

nightcalver

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Here's an interesting read to compare with Bill Bullard's editorial. Notice I didn't say R-Calf? I think Bill is running amuck.

1. NMA Asks Ninth Circuit To Overturn Preliminary Injunction
CattleNetwork.com
April 5, 2005


Oakland, CA NMA filed its reply brief today with the Ninth Circuit
Court of Appeals in R-CALF v. USDA seeking intervenor status and asking
that the preliminary injunction be overturned

In its brief, NMA responded to the admission in R-CALFs brief last week
that R-CALF has never argued that there was a great risk to human
health from resumed imports of cattle and beef from Canada. Because of
this significant admission by R-CALF, NMA has asked the Ninth Circuit to
immediately overturn the Preliminary Injunction against imports of
Canadian cattle and beef, which was based to a large extent on the
alleged potential for harm to human health.

The District Court Opinion, issued with its Preliminary Injunction on
March 2, justified the Preliminary Injunction because of increased risk
to human health and even said there was a genuine risk of death for
U.S. consumers. Now it appears that these conclusions by the Court had
no basis in the record, since R-CALF has effectively admitted that they
could not have been based on argument presented by R-CALF.

NMAs reply brief also points out that R-CALF has never addressed the
risk assessment work which supports USDAs Final Rule, including three
successive studies from the Harvard School of Public Health.

R-CALF now seems more interested in supporting its protectionist
preliminary injunction on procedural grounds, rather than addressing
human health and animal safety, said Rosemary Mucklow, NMA Executive
Director. And today to confirm the priority that R-CALF gives to
procedural maneuvering, R-CALF filed with the Ninth Circuit a motion to
strike the amicus briefs offered by two cattle feeders, Pioneer, Inc and
Easterday Feeders, and a brief offered jointly by the American Meat
Institute and the North American Meat Processors in support of NMAs
appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

[ Copies of NMAs Reply brief and copies of R-CALF motion to strike are
available on NMAs website at www.nmaonline.org and
http://www.nmaonline.org/rcalfmotiontostrike.pdf ]


Full text:
http://www.cattlenetwork.com/content.asp?contentid=4420
 

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