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R-Calf targets Canadian boxed beef

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Bill

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From R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America website:

USDA Ignores Recommendations of BSE Experts
BILLINGS, MONT. (May 9, 2005) For years, R-CALF USA has defended the United States’ long-standing safeguards to protect against the introduction of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) into the U.S. cattle herd from countries affected by this disease. However, advocates of relaxing those critical safeguards have said R-CALF USA does not follow “sound science.”

Two years ago, officials with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) rejected (almost entirely) the recommendations of its own 14-member expert panel after scientists on the panel warned USDA that because of Canada’s BSE problem – at that time just one known case – most Canadian beef products should be classified as moderate-risk to high-risk – not low-risk.

Importantly, the panel stated that specific mitigation measures should be implemented before the U.S. lifted its ban on Canadian beef or cattle.

“Most of these measures were not implemented before August 2003, when USDA lifted the ban on boxed beef,” said Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA CEO. “Even those precautionary measure that were implemented back then will now be relaxed under USDA’s Final Rule.”

USDA assigned its Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) Working Group the task of determining the risk of introducing BSE into the United States through imports of Canadian cattle and/or beef products. In a memo dated June 16, 2003, the group reported that 22 of the items investigated – including veal calves and certain boneless beef cuts from animals younger than 24 months of age – should be classified as low-risk, provided certain risk-mitigation measures were applied. Twenty-six other products – including whole/half carcasses from animals under 24 months of age and bone-in beef from animals over 24 months of age – were deemed to be moderate risk. But 10 other items – including animals over 24 months of age imported for immediate slaughter, as well as ground beef – should be considered high risk.

Importantly, the panel said if additional cases of BSE were found in Canadian animals, additional precautions would be needed. Now that four cases of BSE have been discovered – all in animals of Canadian origin – serious questions have arisen regarding USDA’s continued efforts to allow Canada to export cattle and beef into the U.S. when it is produced under weaker standards than are practiced in every other country where BSE is known also to exist.

“The working group made about seven specific recommendations to USDA in order to maintain the health and safety of our domestic cattle herd – which USDA should recognize as the single most important priority for this industry – but these recommendations have been dismissed by the agency in favor of apparently political goals,” Bullard said.

“Nearly all of the science-based measures recommended by this scientific TSE team are measures R-CALF USA has encouraged USDA to follow, beginning with its first comments to the agency in early 2004,” continued Bullard. “We simply don’t understand why the agency refuses to follow well-reasoned and scientifically supported measures before taking actions to expose the U.S. to unnecessary and avoidable risks.”

USDA had hoped to reopen the Canadian border on March 7 through its Final Rule published on Jan. 4, 2005, but R-CALF USA requested and was granted (on March 2) by the federal court in Billings, Mont., a preliminary injunction to stop that from happening. The final hearing in district court is slated for July 27th, although USDA has appealed the case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and it is unknown how quickly that particular court will make an announcement about the case.

Click here to view the TSE Working Group Memo in its entirety. Listed below are just a few examples of the scientific precautions USDA chose to ignore:

Final Rule does not require a determination of Canada’s BSE prevalence rate through increased testing prior to increasing or decreasing the restrictions recommended by the TSE Working Group.
Final Rule does not require, and Canada has not achieved, a sufficient level of testing to detect BSE at a rate of less than 1 case per million adult cattle as recommended by the TSE Working Group. In fact, Canada itself states it must test 30,000 head annually to determine a prevalence rate of 1 case of BSE per million cattle. Canada tested only 23,550 cattle in all of 2004.
The Final Rule does not require Canada to remove SRMs (defined on page 7 of TSE report as the brain, spinal cord, intestine (not just small intestine), eyes, and tonsils from cattle of all ages from human food as recommended by the TSE Working Group. The Final Rule only requires Canada to remove the tonsils and small intestines from Canadian cattle that are younger than 30 months of age.
Final Rule does not require the removal of SRMs from animal food as recommended by the TSE Working Group (to prevent the inadvertent feeding of pig, poultry, or pet food to cattle).
Final Rule does not require dedicated rendering facilities and mills for processing of ruminant byproducts as recommended by the TSE Working Group (this measure is to prevent cross-contamination that has been known to occur in non-segregated facilities, despite flushing and cleansing efforts that have been shown to be ineffective in preventing such cross-contamination).
USDA did not complete an assessment of trade impacts with the rest of the world before issuing the Final Rule as recommended by the TSE Working Group. In fact, USDA is now trying to convince U.S. export countries that they should accept the BSE measures the Final Rule imposes on Canada, which are far more lenient than the measures applied by every other BSE-affected country in the world.
Neither APHIS nor FDA has eliminated the current U.S. plate-waste exemption, in the feed ban, as recommended by the TSE Working Group.
The Final Rule did not include any additional restrictions after the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cases of BSE were detected in Canadian cattle in late 2003 and early 2005, as recommended by the TSE Working Group. In fact, the Final Rule remains weaker, in all respects, to the recommendations of the TSE Working Group, demonstrating that risk mitigation measures were weakened, rather than strengthened after multiple cases of BSE were detected.
The Final Rule does not prohibit the importation of live cattle over 24 months of age as recommended by the TSE Working Group, which classified cattle over 24 months of age as high-risk. The Final Rule only prohibits the importation of live cattle over 30 months of age.
The Final Rule does not prohibit the importation of ground beef as recommended by the TSE Working Group, which classified ground beef from cattle of any age as high-risk.
The Final Rule does not require that only beef from cattle slaughtered before reaching the age of 24 months – and which have had their brain, spinal cord, tonsil, eyes, and intestines removed – can be imported into the United States. The Final Rule allows beef from cattle up to 30 months of age – with only the tonsils and small intestines removed – to be imported into the United States.
Did not remove poultry litter and blood from cattle feed.
 

Sandhusker

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Big Muddy rancher said:
Pretty quiet from the R-CALFers. Come on guys what do you think of this?

What do you want us to say? The usual chain of events is that the anti R-CALF contingent claims it is all lies and just a way to stab Canadians in the back, then we explain the fight is against the USDA/AMI, then anti-R-CALFers ignore what we say, and then we give up.
 

don

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sandhusker please explain how the actions r-calf has taken so far advance your cause against usda/ami. so far it appears you've strengthened cargill and tyson's competitive positions in the states. has r-calf done anything to diversify packer ownership in the states? i think you're just a bunch of guys who want to take a swipe at somebody and it's a lot easier to go to billings to get an injunction to stop the flow of canadian cattle than to do anything constructive. it's a lot easier for bullard and mcdonnell to take on the canadians than the american packers. the ibp lawsuit failed; looks like you haven't really laid a glove on the big guys but you have set up a situation that has forced some of the smaller packers to close the doors. it won't be the packers who lose (they're making good profits up here to cover their losses down there) it will be the american cattleman that r-calf says it is protecting.
 

Kato

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R-Calf is protecting R-Calf. It's like when a union boss drums up some sort of 'hardship' that doesn't exist in order to justify his job. If everything is running smoothly, he isn't needed any more, so he needs to find a controversy.

Has anyone ever accounted for exactly how much money these guys have raised, and what they have spent it on? Are the books closed or open? Do members at large have recourse when they disagree with leadership? Are there elections?

Or do American cattle producers just write cheques and donate calves to further the 'cause', and don't care how their money is spent ... :?
 

Kato

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Perspective - Trade with Canada is two-way street
Wednesday, May 11, 2005



By Jamie Willrett

If you support the closure of the Canadian border, you effectively are supporting consolidation of the U.S. packing industry to the detriment of U.S. cattlemen. Before you decide that view is too extreme, let me explain.

As a leader in world trade, the United States is watched closely in all trade matters. Reopening of our borders in the BSE matter is no different.

As a leader, the U.S. needs to stick to the sound science behind the issues related to opening our borders and those of our foreign customers, such as Japan and Korea.

We’ve already seen Mexico, one of our top three customers, state it will not take any products from the U.S. that we won’t take from Canada.

When it comes to trade, a do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do policy doesn’t fly. Trade is a two-way street, otherwise it’s just selling.

An important fact that’s been lost in all the hoopla is the fact that Canada implemented the exact same steps at the same time the U.S. did to ensure that BSE didn’t come into our country. Those actions date back to the ‘80s.

In the ‘80s, the U.S. federal government banned the importation of live cattle from countries with BSE. All the cattle that had been imported live from countries with BSE were bought and euthanized. Canada implemented that exact system at the same time. When the U.S. implemented a feed ban in 1997, so did Canada.

Security synchronization is part of the reason why Japan and our other foreign customers view Canadian and American beef as North American beef. That’s how the international community views what has happened. Now put yourself in the Canadians’ shoes.

Canadian cattlemen went through severe financial hardships when the border closed. They saw fed cattle prices drop as much as $900 per head. That loss was passed through the whole production chain — down to the cow-calf producers.

The Canadians watched cull cow prices drop to 20 cents per pound, meaning cull cows were, and are, selling for $250 a head. Compare that to the $720 per head we’re currently receiving here. Canadian fed cattle are trading for about 65 cents per pound compared to 93 cents in the U.S.

Canadian cattle producers have vowed never again to take deep price discounts because of their country’s insufficient slaughter capacity.

The Canadian border remains closed to live cattle, but open to Canadian beef from cattle younger than 30 months old. If the only way Canadians can get U.S. prices is to build their own slaughter plants, guess what’s going to happen?

Canada’s slaughter capacity grew by 22 percent in 2004 and another 18 percent is anticipated for this year. The Canadians are building new plants and updating existing ones.

Every day the border is closed, there is further incentive for equity to flow into the Canadian packing business. They will have a more modern and vibrant packing industry than ours.

The other shoe waiting to drop is the impact on the U.S. packing industry. We have plants that have been operating at 40 to 60 percent capacity.

That can’t be sustained long term. We have already and will continue to lose U.S. packing plants because of this border dispute. This is not good for U.S. cattlemen.

This trade issue is hurting us and forcing consolidation of our packing industry. So if you support keeping the border closed, in effect, you’re supporting consolidation of the packing industry and fewer markets.

I challenge anyone who doesn’t believe me to go to Canada and talk to beef producers. You’ll see the expansion I’ve mentioned and see the resolve in the eyes of Canadian cattlemen.

If you have an opportunity, participate in an organized exchange like the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Canadian Market Study trip (June 24-July 3). Become enlightened about these issues so critical to your future and that of our industry.
 

Tam

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This just doesn't make sense first they say they want their export markets open to the point of asking for trade sanctions on Japan then they close one of the largest export markets they have with this move. Mexico has an agreement to take from the US what the US takes from Canada and that is boxed beef from cattle UTM of age. now R-CALF wants that to stop wouldn't that then close the Mexican border to US exports. :???: How is this going to open any borders R-CALF with the help of Judge Cebull will be closing what the USDA has managed to get open? And why should Japan and South Korea open if the US says meat from UTM cattle that have the same SRM's removed is not safe and why should the US consumers eat the beef that is produced to a less strict standard and slaughtered to the same standard as the Canadian boxed beef is? I feel for the rest of the US beef producers because R-CALF is starting you down a road that the majority don't want to be on but if one goes you all go. Canada has proven their industry to the international trading parnters but everytime R-CALF makes a statement about why they are going after the USDA they just happen to point out the shortfalls of the US system so how can the international trading parnters not see them. We can't import because our feed ban has holes. We can't import because we don't remove the right SRM's. We can't import as the beef from a country that is in the same risk catagory is a genuine risk of death. Good Luck with your exports if R-CALF wins even if you don't find a native case with you slaughter plant testing.

I would still like to know why if Canada has such a problem with BSE has the US only found one case in all the Canadian cattle that have gone through the US system?
 

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Jamie Willrett, "As a leader in world trade, the United States is watched closely in all trade matters. Reopening of our borders in the BSE matter is no different."

Has Jamie compared the amount of Canadian boxed beef the US has been taking to the amount of US boxed beef Japan and Korea have been taking?

Jamie Willrett, "In the ‘80s, the U.S. federal government banned the importation of live cattle from countries with BSE. All the cattle that had been imported live from countries with BSE were bought and euthanized. Canada implemented that exact system at the same time. When the U.S. implemented a feed ban in 1997, so did Canada. "

On the same topic....

Donna Higgins, "The complaints also accuse the government of failing to keep proper track of 191 cattle imported from Great Britain between 1982 and 1990 when such imports were banned and the cattle were put into a "monitoring program." After one of them was diagnosed with BSE in December 1993, officials went looking for the other 190 and discovered 80 of them had died, been rendered and turned into animal feed, including cattle feed."

Somebody is wrong. The cattle were either found and killed or some got into the rendering plant. My bet is that Jamie is a little off...
 

Sandhusker

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Don, "sandhusker please explain how the actions r-calf has taken so far advance your cause against usda/ami."

It's letting them know that somebody is watching and will speak up for the US cattleman and actually take action when the AMI has USDA do their work to the detriment of US producers.
 

don

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sandhusker: It's letting them know that somebody is watching and will speak up for the US cattleman and actually take action when the AMI has USDA do their work to the detriment of US producers.

so r-calf is like that litter of toothless puppies we have in our garage; they can yip and yap and snarl but so far they haven't scared the big dogs.
 

Jinglebob

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don said:
sandhusker: It's letting them know that somebody is watching and will speak up for the US cattleman and actually take action when the AMI has USDA do their work to the detriment of US producers.

so r-calf is like that litter of toothless puppies we have in our garage; they can yip and yap and snarl but so far they haven't scared the big dogs.

I'm not a big proponent of r-calf, but it seems to me they have quite a lot of people scared or mad or something. Must be having some effect!

"There is no such thing as bad press"
 

Tam

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Jinglebob said:
don said:
sandhusker: It's letting them know that somebody is watching and will speak up for the US cattleman and actually take action when the AMI has USDA do their work to the detriment of US producers.

so r-calf is like that litter of toothless puppies we have in our garage; they can yip and yap and snarl but so far they haven't scared the big dogs.

I'm not a big proponent of r-calf, but it seems to me they have quite a lot of people scared or mad or something. Must be having some effect!

"There is no such thing as bad press"

You don't consider lieing to the consumer about the beef they eat is bad press? I guess as long as it gets R-CALFs name in the press it doesn't matter that they are killing consumer confidence. And as long as the money keeps rolling into R-CALF legal fund it doesn't matter what the rest of the of the cattle industry thinks. :roll: There is such a thing as bad press and all you have to do to find it is read one of R-CALFs press releases filled with half truths and out and out lies. :x
 

don

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the point is that nothing r-calf has done has moved them any closer to their publicized goals. where's mcool? where's reduced concentration of ownership of slaughter capacity? all they've done is gotten a couple of injunctions. they've stung canadian producers but they haven't touched the packers (they're the best friends tyson and cargill have got). they aren't any closer to mcool than they were pre bse. packer ownership is more concentrated now as the smaller guys are forced out. bill and leo and shae (now there's a case) have duped these rubes into thinking they are the second coming and they got nothin'.
 

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Tam, your comment on how R-CALF is leading the average US producer down a road that he doesn't want to go, got me thinking. Applying that same way of thinking to the old days in school when the teacher told the loud mouth to be quiet or he/she would penalize the whole class....the loud mouth didn't, and the whole class got penalized. In the end, the loud mouth gets the snot beat out of him at recess. :p A bit of foreshadowing?

I wonder if some day in the States, R-CALF will be one of those special groups that doesn't get talked about much and that no one wants to admit as ever being a part of, like the KKK.

I don't blame R-CALF for being a organization that actually does a decent job of representing its members. Actually wish we had the same gusto in our organizations up here. For the Canadian viewers, when was the last time you ever saw anyone auction off a donated calf for the CCA? (I think I would shoot my entire herd before I even gave it any thought :twisted: ) That is the kind of strength we need in out organizations up here. Only thing I hope is that if the border ever gets sorted out, R-CALF members will proudly identify themselves from the rest so CDN and US cattlemen alike can make informed decisions about who they are dealing with. :wink:
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Aaron said:
Tam, your comment on how R-CALF is leading the average US producer down a road that he doesn't want to go, got me thinking. Applying that same way of thinking to the old days in school when the teacher told the loud mouth to be quiet or he/she would penalize the whole class....the loud mouth didn't, and the whole class got penalized. In the end, the loud mouth gets the snot beat out of him at recess. :p A bit of foreshadowing?

I wonder if some day in the States, R-CALF will be one of those special groups that doesn't get talked about much and that no one wants to admit as ever being a part of, like the KKK.

I don't blame R-CALF for being a organization that actually does a decent job of representing its members. Actually wish we had the same gusto in our organizations up here. For the Canadian viewers, when was the last time you ever saw anyone auction off a donated calf for the CCA? (I think I would shoot my entire herd before I even gave it any thought :twisted: ) That is the kind of strength we need in out organizations up here. Only thing I hope is that if the border ever gets sorted out, R-CALF members will proudly identify themselves from the rest so CDN and US cattlemen alike can make informed decisions about who they are dealing with. :wink:



Well Arron I have sold calves for the SSGA. When you talk about how little our organizations are doing or done i ask you what have you done? Do you belong and are you active in a cattle organization. How many miles have you drove on behalf of your fellow producers?

I know many that have spent countless days working on behalf of the industry and only to be critizied by those "ARM CHAIR Quarter backs that have all the answers but no gumption to put their butts on the line and get involved. Please correct me if I am wrong about you.
 

Aaron

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BMR, I probably am in the wrong province. Through the local cattlemen's association, we send about 2-3 resolutions every year (some of the same ones year after year) to the OCA, only to have them defeated by a pro-feedlot and packer organization. When you have to drive 24 hours just to get to a meeting that lasts a day or two in which you 'may' be given a chance to speak, the incentive just isn't there, nor the cash to finance such trips. Luckily, we usually have some support for our resolutions from the Lambton County cattle producers, and a few other counties in Southern Ontario. It is those counties which I believe would be better suited for Western Canada than Ontario which is full of OFA and NFU cult followers. If you ever read some of the resolutions that have come forward and are then published by the OCA's magazine following the annual meeting, you might just get a good laugh out of them.

Although I can't vouch for the actions of the SSGA, what is your take on the CCA? I have alot of choice words for Stan Eby. When the CCA is relying on Cargill and Lakeside to increase the packing capacity in this country, what is the point? What percentage of the expected 18% increase in packing capacity in Canada this year is going to be from the big packers? I think it will be at least 10% (if not 15%) when the year is over. Pump your checkoff dollars into the CCA, just so they can praise the big packers for their accomplishments. Where in the CCA pressuring the feds to harness in the CFIA and their ludacris demands for those interested in contributing to additional independent capacity in this country? A local businessman interested in setting up an initial 100 head/week federal plant sent 5 proposals into the CFIA before he gave up on going federal. Each time the proposals were sent after changes, a different area was penalized as inadequate. Rather then identify all areas in question with the 1st proposal, the CFIA dragged out their findings over 5 proposals. Does that look like an organization that is even trying to co-operate with this industry? Brian Evans doesn't have to worry about getting packing capacity up and running in this country or paying bills with a hefty government cheque in his pocket.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Aaron I know it is frustrating but the CCA has lobbied the government and CFIA to be more proactive in getting new plants approved but remember we also need Cargill and Tyson whether we like them or not . Have you ever done business with someone you don't really like but are civil and try to get along with them because it was best for your business. You don't have to sell to them if you don't want to maybe you can market your production at the farm gate but when I have fat cattle to sell they go to the highest bidder..
I don't know how OAC is structured but do you have zones that meet and send someone to OCA. Maybe you should take a trip west the end of May for the SSGA convention is Swift Current.
 

Bill

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Big Muddy rancher said:
Aaron I know it is frustrating but the CCA has lobbied the government and CFIA to be more proactive in getting new plants approved but remember we also need Cargill and Tyson whether we like them or not . Have you ever done business with someone you don't really like but are civil and try to get along with them because it was best for your business. You don't have to sell to them if you don't want to maybe you can market your production at the farm gate but when I have fat cattle to sell they go to the highest bidder..
I don't know how OAC is structured but do you have zones that meet and send someone to OCA. Maybe you should take a trip west the end of May for the SSGA convention is Swift Current.
the CCA has lobbied the government and CFIA to be more proactive in getting new plants

If CCA has done lobbying for approval of increased packing space outside the existing facilities it has happened after the failed March 7 border reopening and is news to most of us. We appreciate the work folks like you do BMR but be hesitant to buy into everything presented at face value.

The only way to make changes is to do things differently.
 

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SSGA convention is May 29, 30 31 in Swift Current Sask. at the Palliser Pavilion Presidents reception follows a Texas Scramble at the Chinook golf course on Sunday the 29th then on Monday the 30th Trade show starts at 8:00 and Welcome by the President is at 9:00 some of the speakers are Mark Wartman, Sandy Larson, Don Senechal, Anne Dunford, Noel McNaughton, Charlie Gracey, Andrew Raphael, and Chris Giffen. There is a banquet on Monday night where Her Honour the Honorable Dr Lynda Haverstock will speak and the TESA award winner will be announced followed by an Auctioneering Competiton. On Tuesday Trade show starts at 8:30 and call to order is 9:30 with reports from Stan Eby, John Masswohl, Brad Wildeman, Ben Thorlakson, Ted Haney, Tim Highmoor and BIC reps. Tuesday is the day most of the SSGA business is handled. I hope everyone can make it as alot of information will be passed on to the producers and this is the time for the Producer to speak up on the issues.
 

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