Ranchers ready to voice beef with Canadian imports

US - North Dakota ranchers will get a chance to air their views on a plan to open the Canadian border to more imported cattle during a hearing today in Bismarck.
calendar icon 22 February 2007
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The Department of Agriculture has proposed to open the border to additional beef products and to cattle older than 30 months, which currently are banned because of concerns about bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease. Younger animals are considered less vulnerable to the disease.

“We don’t think enough of our concerns have been addressed yet to change the rule,” said Wade Moser, executive vice president for the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association. “Our biggest concern is if, by chance, we were to import a Canadian cow with BSE, we would probably end up suffering in trade consequences down the road with some of the countries where we have tried to open up the doors again.”

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., is conducting today’s hearing at 10 a.m. at Bismarck State College.

Speaking to the media in Minot Tuesday, Dorgan said this is not a good time to be considering importing more Canadian cattle.

“We just saw the ninth case of mad cow disease in Canada. I feel badly for the ranchers in Canada but our job is to protect our interests and our beef industry in this country. The agriculture secretary seems intent almost to do a cattle drive from Canada to the U.S. I just don’t understand why, given what’s happened in Canada, he wants to move to open that border precipitously and quickly,” Dorgan said. “We need to stand up for the economic interests of our country, our ranchers our beef industry. We have the best, the safest supply of beef in the world, I don’t want to jeopardize that by reopening that border this quickly.”

Source: The Minot Daily News
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