MARCH 2, 2005 The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana granted the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) a preliminary injunction to block the reopening of the Canadian border.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been preparing to deem Canada a minimal-risk region and open the border March 7 to imports of Canadian live cattle less than 30 months of age. R-CALF submitted 16 pages of written testimony yesterday, March 1, requesting an injunction in an attempt to suspend trade plans until the groups full lawsuit against the USDA could be carried out litigation that requests the USDAs Final Rule on Canada be overturned and Canadian imports rejected.
USDA remains confident that the requirements of the minimal-risk rule, in combination with the animal and public health measures already in place in the United States and Canada, provide the utmost protection to both U.S. consumers and livestock, said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns in an official statement. We also remain fully confident in the underlying risk assessment, developed in accordance with the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) guidelines, which determined Canada to be a minimal-risk region.
Todays ruling is not a reflection on the substance of the minimal-risk rule, but rather a procedural delay while the judge considers the merits of the case. We continue to believe that international trade in beef, founded on science-based regulations, should be re-established in an expeditious manner.
R-CALF representatives are disputing USDAs stance on the safety of Canadian beef products, including the agencys technical analyses and an assessment of the Canadian ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban released by the USDA technical team late last week.
In a USDA release, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Administrator Ron DeHaven reported that the teams firsthand assessment of Canadas feed ban compliance affirms our science-based decision to begin lifting the ban on live ruminants and ruminant products from Canada that have virtually no risk to human or animal health. DeHaven reported that the inspectors, who arrived in Canada Jan. 24, gathered all relevant information and found Canadas inspection system to be robust and in overall compliance.
Visit www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/bse/bse.html for a copy of the feed ban assessment, the final rule and other documents pertaining to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Information regarding R-CALFs stance can be found on its Web site, www.r-calfusa.com.
by Angus Productions Inc. staff