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AMERICAN MEAT INSTITUTE SAYS CANADIAN TRADE RULE REPRESENTS PROGRESS, BUT FULL CATTLE TRADE IS WARRANTED

Wednesday, December 29, 2004
 

Washington, D.C. – Permitting importation of Canadian cattle under 30 months of age is a step in the right direction and one that will be welcomed by the beef industry, the American Meat Institute (AMI) said in response to a rule announced today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“However, science and international beef and cattle trading guidelines set by the Office of International Epizootics (OIE) both say that U.S. should permit imports of Canadian cattle regardless of age," said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. “It is long past time for USDA to take a leadership role in operating within these international guidelines.”

Under OIE guidelines, Canada’s response to the May 2003 BSE case and the system it established throughout the 1990s to ensure cattle health and the ability to identify and trace livestock, are more than adequate to justify full restoration of trade in cattle and beef products with Canada regardless of an animal’s age.

Boyle also said that continuing to prohibit importation of older cattle while permitting the importation of beef from these animals is arbitrary and capricious and not supported by science or OIE trading guidelines.

While some groups have attempted to make food safety arguments to fight the full reestablishment of cattle and beef trade with Canada, Boyle called these claims “utterly irresponsible and unscientific...The U.S. and Canada both have implemented state-of-the-art, meat inspection and animal disease prevention systems. As we look across the borders, we see near mirror images of one another. I’m confident in the integrity of the U.S. system and I’m equally as confident in Canada’s as well.”

“We urge USDA to move swiftly to remove the remaining prohibition on the importation of older animals for processing,” Boyle said.


For more information contact:
David Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
202-587-4243
dray@meatinstitute.org
Janet Riley
Sr. VP, Public Affairs
202-587-4245
jriley@meatinstitute.org

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