Waco, Texas (March 4, 2005)— Texas Farmers Union is pleased with the U.S. Senate’s vote against reopening the border to Canadian cattle, and now the family farm and ranch organizations are urging the U.S. House of Representatives to quickly follow suit.
On March 3, the Senate rejected with a 52-46 vote, the U.S. Agriculture Department’s plan to resume live cattle trade with Canada, following a two-year ban on beef and cattle from that country due to the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in its native herd.
Longtime livestock producer and TFU President Wes Sims said the Canadian government has not sufficiently demonstrated that it has the BSE outbreak contained.
“Before we reopen the border to Canadian cattle, we better make sure that their animals and products are BSE free and that they are complying with the ban on ruminant-based feed,” Sims said. “In addition, we should not be in a rush to import Canadian beef when our beef export markets are still not fully re-established and we still don’t have mandatory country-of-origin labeling to distinguish our products from those from other countries.”
Sims said the United States lost more than $2 billion in 2004 due to lost export markets after a single BSE positive cow with Canadian origin was found in Washington state. He said restoring beef trade with Canada at this time would cause economic hardships for Texas cattle producers, who run 14 million head of cattle. “This should be among our House members’ highest priorities,” Sims said. “I urge our representatives to act quickly before USDA can implement its plan to allow live Canadian cattle back into the United States.”
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