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Groeneveld expects BSE case to impact U.S. border decision

15 February 2007

US - Alberta Agriculture Minister George Groeneveld said the discovery of the ninth case of BSE in the province is unfortunate considering the U.S. has begun the process of normalizing cattle trade with Canada.
“Are we surprised we found this one? No we’re not,” he said. “It’s always disappointing. But, as long as we test the way we are now we will continue to find it.”

Last week, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced it confirmed a case of BSE in a mature bull from Alberta. No meat from the animal entered the food system. According to a CFIA release, the bull’s age is consistent with previous cases found in Canada, which signifies it likely contracted the disease early in its life.

While he hopes it won’t, Groeneveld said the discovery will probably have an impact on the process to reopen the U.S. border to live cattle imports over 30 months of age.  At present, there is a 60-day comment period on U.S. plans to allow importation of older Canadian cows.

He expects the lobby group R-CALF to cite the case as part of its ongoing efforts to keep the U.S. border closed to older Canadian cattle.  “It’s another tool in their tool box to challenge the ruling,” he said. “It will lengthen the whole thing out.”

Ultimately, Groeneveld said he doesn’t expect R-CALF to be able to influence the final U.S. decision on the issue.  As for access to other foreign markets, he said other countries are likely to follow the U.S.’s lead.

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Source: High River Times


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