Canadian groups join legal dispute

March 23, 2005 — Two more groups entered the beef industry’s growing legal arena this week. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) filed for intervenor status in the pending legal battle between Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), scheduled to begin hearings July 27 in Billings, Mont.

According to a CCA release, the joint request argues that Canadian cattle producers have substantial interest in the outcome of the case and therefore seek representation. The CCA, which represents 90,000 cattlemen, previously attempted to play a comparable role in court proceedings surrounding the preliminary injunction granted earlier this month; however, its motion was denied.

The two groups follow the precedent set by the National Meat Association (NMA), which was granted an emergency appeal last week in its pursuit of a similar status. NMA filed its briefing Monday explaining why it should be given a role in the trade dispute and allowed to argue for reopening of Canadian cattle imports on behalf of U.S. meat processors. R-CALF and USDA will be allowed answering briefs, due March 28.

Meanwhile, President Bush is meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Mexican President Vicente Fox today at his Texas ranch in an effort to smooth relations with the two countries. According to The Associated Press, the North American leaders were expected to discuss a number of issues, including beef trade with Canada, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and immigration concerns.

— by Crystal Albers, Angus Productions Inc. assistant editor

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