DC, March 8, 2005 (ENS): The Canadian-U.S.
border will remain closed to the import of Canadian
beef for the present due to concern about cattle and
beef infected with mad cow disease.
U.S. District Court Judge John Garrett Penn in Washington
Monday denied the motion of American Meat Institute,
an industry organization, to block enforcement of a
May 2003 ban on imports of Canadian cattle.
The move is the latest in a series of court battles
over the reopening of the border, which was originally
scheduled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for
Monday, but is now on hold.
American Meat Institute Senior Vice President of Regulatory
Affairs and General Counsel, Mark Dopp said, "The
U.S. meat industry continues to believe as strongly
as ever that full trade in beef and cattle products
with Canada is justified by both the science and world
animal health guidelines set by the OIE." OIE stands
for the World Animal Health Organization.
"This ruling and other anti-trade developments
this week have been a blow to free trade and to the
principles that have made an industry strong and competitive
in international markets," Dopp said.
The American Meat Institute believes that unless the
border is opened their Canadian counterparts will resolve
to do whatever is necessary to become a major competitor
to the United States. "The U.S. has historically
consumed almost 50 percent of Canada's production and
more than 90 percent of their exports. Canada will never
let that happen again - and we will suffer because of
it," said Dopp.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture was pleased with
Monday's ruling, spokesman Ed Loyd told reporters. "USDA
has decided to consider this issue through a separate
rulemaking process," he said.
"The fact that our long term ally may now become
a rival and could move into our former export markets
is salt in the wounds of the U.S. beef industry, which
is suffering terribly from this protected, unnecessary
and protectionist trade barrier," said Dopp. "But
we will not let this - or any other development - weaken
our resolve to work for science-based and internationally
harmonized trade policies."
Last week, a federal district judge in Montana granted
a cattlemen's association a preliminary injunction that
prevented the Canadian border from reopening to live
cattle and additional beef products on March 7. The
border opening was scheduled by the United States Department
of Agriculture (USDA) in its Final Rule classifying
Canada as a "minimal risk" country for mad
cow disease, issued on December 29, 2004.
District Judge Richard Cebull ruled in favor of Ranchers-Cattlemen
Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America),
known as R-CALF USA, in its request for a preliminary