Cattle Movement Across Canadian Border Expected to be Slow

US - When the U.S. border opens to Canadian cattle older than 30 months on Nov. 19, the influx of older cattle coming south will be minimal, ranchers in Alberta and Saskatchewan say.
calendar icon 29 October 2007
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Age verification requirements, currency parity and transportation costs will limit movement.

Nevertheless, Montana cattlemen argue that the timing of the opening is poor for the U.S. cull market and is premature in that age limitations on U.S. cattle/beef exports should first be resolved with Japan and South Korea. Also, the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy contamination from Canadian cattle is too great, some say.

The specters of congressional intervention or judicial injunction are hovering just offstage, too.

The mid-November deadline is the latest chapter in a saga that began in 2003 with the discovery of BSE in cattle on both sides of the border. Since that time, 10 Canadian animals have been verified with BSE; three animals in the United States have been confirmed, the first being an import from Canada.

BSE, also known as mad cow disease, is a brain-wasting disease caused by warped proteins called prions that are found in the central nervous system tissues of infected cows. In the mid-1980s, an outbreak of BSE in the United Kingdom resulted in the slaughter of thousands of infected cows and collapse of the cattle and beef markets.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Since the 1990s, about 150 people in the United Kingdom have died as a result of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from eating the infected tissues of BSE cows. Another 10-12 persons have died in Europe as a result of vCJD. There has been no indigenous case of vCJD in Canada or the United States.

Since July 2005, Canadian live cattle under 30 months and beef from such animals have been allowed into the United States. Under the new rule, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow imports of cattle and bison born on or after March 1, 1999, and meat from all animals.

Source: Billings Gazette
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