Six U.S. states bid to exclude Cdn beef
Date: Wednesday, September 28 2005
September 26, 2005
Six state governments have filed a court brief in support of an American cattle producer organization that wants to shut the United States border to Canadian beef again.
R-CALF USA is asking a group of 11 judges who sit on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to review a ruling made July 14 that overturned a two-year ban on young Canadian cattle imports due to mad cow disease.
The states say they agree with R-CALF that the U.S. Department of Agriculture was wrong to allow trade in live Canadian cattle to resume. They say the threat of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) could have devastating consequences to human health and the U.S. economy.
"This case is pregnant with public interest of a national character," says the brief filed by the states of Connecticut, West Virginia, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana.
"The USDA's proposed rule puts the citizens of the amici states at risk of eating food contaminated with BSE and contracting, and dying from, vCJD (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, or mad cow disease.)"
The states urge the Court of Appeals to grant R-CALF's request for a rehearing and to reimpose an injunction against Canadian beef imports.
Since trade in live cattle resumed July 18, Canadian producers have shipped more than 164,000 animals under 30 months of age to the U.S.
It's estimated Canadian beef producers suffered $7 billion in losses since a cow with BSE was found in an Alberta cow in May 2003.
R-CALF, which represents 18,000 U.S. cattle producers, welcomed the support. "Besides the concern for public health, many of the amici states realize that cattle production is an integral and substantial part of their economies," said R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard.
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on September 29, 2005]