WASHINGTON, 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,"
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
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 injunction.