Illegal Canadian cattle discovered in U.S.

SOUTH DAKOTA - The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association (SDSGA) hopes USDA will take the necessary steps to remedy a loss of revenue for a South Dakota producer who unknowingly purchased Canadian feeder cattle, says SDSGA President Rick Fox.
calendar icon 16 January 2007
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An independent South Dakota feeder was under the impression, in November of 2006, that he had delivered U.S. cattle to a slaughter plant in Nebraska, but found out differently when the packing plant denied him payment on seven head of the fat cattle, says Fox.

"He bought calves in South Dakota, and fed them at home in his feedlot like he always does, so he was pretty surprised when he got a call from the packing plant telling them that seven head out of the load had been condemned because they were of Canadian origin," Fox said. "The offal on the entire load was also condemned, which meant another substantial loss in income. He did not realize that the cattle were from Canada - he had purchased them assuming that they were domestic cattle." Even though Canadian eartags were identified in the calves, the cattle have not been traced back to any particular farm or ranch in Canada.

"Bureaucrats in Washington tell us that the U.S. cattle industry needs an individual animal ID program to allow for fast traceback, but the Stockgrowers believe that tracking of imported cattle should be a higher priority," Fox said. "Unfortunately, it appears that USDA is not keeping track of the cattle being imported from Canada - under USDA's rules, these calves should never have been allowed to be sold in a South Dakota auction market. The Canadian officials apparently haven't been able to trace back the movements and origin of the calves, despite the official Canadian tags found in their ears." Fox said that USDA implemented a rule in 2005 to allow the importation of Canadian feeder cattle under 30 months of age, but only under very strict conditions.

Source: Livestock Roundup

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