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Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
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U.S. ag department questions R-CALF rationale
this document web posted: Wednesday, February 9, 2005 20050210p3

By Mary MacArthur
Camrose bureau

In an unprecedented step, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has publicly disputed an American cattle lobby group's court action to stop the March 7 border opening to Canadian cattle and additonal beef products.

It says the lobby group's reasons for keeping the border closed are false.

Earlier this month, R-CALF, the American cattle organization that has lobbied to keep the border closed, filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Montana.

It asked for a preliminary injunction against the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and listed seven reasons why it objected to the border opening.

In its motion, R-CALF asked the court to block the department from implementing its final rule until the facts of the lawsuit can be considered.

"R-CALF's priority is to prevent the irreparable harm the U.S. cattle industry will suffer if the border were reopened under the unacceptable conditions contained in USDA's final rule," said Bill Bullard, R-CALF chief executive.

The border has been closed to live Canadian cattle for almost two years. Only beef products from animals younger than 30 months are allowed into the United States.

The proposed rule will allow cattle under 30 months and all beef products including meat from animals over 30 months.

The USDA published a fact sheet Feb. 2, disputing the cattle producers' claims and saying they are based on wrong information.

In the court motion, R-CALF said Canada's rules for removing specified risk materials from beef shipped to the United States are less stringent than standards recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health.

The inspection service countered that in its fact sheet, saying, "the OIE guidelines are not specific international mandates, as misinterpreted by R-CALF, but rather are guidelines for countries to conduct risk assessments of potential trading partners."

It acknowledged Canada's feed ban falls short of meeting the OIE feed ban criteria, but noted USDA's minimal-risk criteria are designed to consider an individual country's specific situation. It analyzes risk based on the overall effectiveness of actions taken by the country to prevent the introduction and spread of BSE.

R-CALF also said Canada is not following the OIE guidelines for removing specified risk materials.

USDA said the OIE recommends removing tonsils and intestines at all ages and the removal of brains, eyes, spinal cord, skull and vertebral column from animals older than 12 months in countries of moderate and high BSE risk. Canada is considered a country of minimal risk and is following acceptable practices.

USDA also refuted R-CALF's claims about Canada's BSE surveillance testing, feed ban protection, age of BSE exposure, risk to consumers and international trade relations.
And that critique coming from the same folks who said Canada's feed ban was effective in March 1999.... :roll: The same folks that needed Phyllis Fong to get them to do their jobs... :roll: The same folks who said the Washington cow was a downer..... :roll: The same folks who take a month to track cattle who have been in this country for less than 24 hours... :roll: Need I go on?

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