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USCA urges re-evaluation of Rule 2

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6/7/2007 10:04:00 AM

USCA Urges Johanns To Re-Evaluate Canada’s Feed Ban Enforcement Date

San Lucas, Calif. (June 7, 2007) ~ In a letter dated June 6, 2007 the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association urged Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns to delay implementation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rule to resume trade in older cattle, and beef derived from older cattle, with Canada pending a re-evaluation of Canada’s effective feed ban enforcement date and until key export markets are reopened to U.S. beef.

In late May, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) classified both the U.S. and Canada in the same “controlled risk” bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) category. OIE guidelines require that cattle and beef being considered for import must be born after the effective enforcement of a feed ban.

“Considering five of Canada’s recent cases were born after the official date of effective feed ban implementation, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association has submitted to Secretary Johanns that Canada’s effective enforcement date has yet to be determined, and is certainly not the March 1, 1999 date as determined by USDA,” noted Chuck Kiker, USCA Animal Health and Welfare Committee chairman, Beaumont, TX.

The March 1, 1999 date was determined after allowing for a practical implementation period following the August 1997 establishment of Canada’s feed ban. Of the five Canadian BSE cases born after March 1, 1999 two were born in 2001 and one was born as late as 2002, a full three years after the effective enforcement date. “Although the OIE classified the U.S. and Canada as Controlled Risk countries, the effectiveness of mitigation factors and, thus, the level of risk in the cattle and beef supplies of the two countries are substantially different,” said Kiker. “It is important that USDA recognize this undeniable fact and that the agency continue to ban cattle and beef over thirty months of age from coming into the U.S. pending a re-evaluation of the effective enforcement date of Canada’s feed ban.”

“The fact that trade with key beef export markets has not yet resumed is a signal from trading partners that there are concerns. Those issues will be much more difficult to alleviate if we open U.S. borders to Canada, which clearly has a higher number of BSE cases than the United States. Therefore, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association is urging USDA to delay implementation of the OTM Rule until beef export markets have been fully reinstated and a re-evaluation of Canada’s effective enforcement date has been completed,” said Kiker.

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