Farmers Object to Loosening Restrictions on Canadian Beef

US - Nearly four years after a Canadian-born cow turned up in the Yakima Valley with mad-cow disease, the federal government plans to loosen restrictions on imports of beef across the Canadian border.
calendar icon 14 November 2007
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The Department of Agriculture maintains that the risk of importing another infected cow into the United States is extremely small. But the plan is continuing to meet loud protest from Washington state ranchers and national consumer advocates.

Both are suing to block the move and have asked a judge to halt the Nov. 19 reopening, saying the government still has not kept its promises to ensure that the disease is kept out of the U.S. meat supply.

''When the first mad cow hit us from Canada, within 30 days we lost all of our foreign exports of beef. It was huge,'' said Rod Haeberle, a rancher who raises beef cattle in Okanogan County about 50 miles from the border.

''I know people say, 'I don't see what the big deal is with Canada,' but look at what one cow did.''

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that beginning Monday, it will once again allow live cattle 30 months of age and older - considered to have the highest risk of infection with mad cow disease - to be imported from Canada. It would be the first time since December 2003, when the slaughtered cow from Mabton, Wash., was found to have the brain-wasting disease.

Source: Santa Barbara News Press
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