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Province Shows Commitment To Enhanced Feed Ban

10 April 2007

CANADA - The Ontario Cattlemen's Association (OCA) thanks the McGuinty government for releasing funds that will help the Ontario processing sector comply with Canada's enhanced feed ban, as announced today by The Honourable Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

On February 15, 2007, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) madea presentation to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, asking for support for the creation of transition measures to ensure the timely and non-disruptive implementation of the enhancements to Canada's feed policy. The $6 million announced today shows that the provincial government was able to respond to some of the industry's concerns.

Canada's enhanced feed ban - calling for elimination of Specified Risk Materials (SRMs), from all animal feeds, pet foods and fertilizers - was announced last June by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Canada's beef industry endorsed the motives for the enhancement, which will significantly accelerate Canada's progress toward eradicating Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) from the Canada's cattle herd, by preventing more than 99% of any potential BSE infectivity from entering the Canadian feed system. However, the requirements of the strengthened feed control measures, due to come into place on July 12th of this year, were of great concern the industry.

"The feed ban and its enhancement will speed the eradication of BSE from Canada's herd, and expedite normalized trade with international customers. While it is important to take these steps, it is vital to ensure that implementation of the feed ban enhancement goes smoothly," says Gord Hardy, OCA Vice-President. "Canada's cattle producers compete in the North American market and are part of an integrated chain. Large operations are better able to adapt to changes like this. Small operations have more challenges."

Today, Canada is the largest exporter of grain-fed cattle and beef products in the world. The industry can compete providing there is a level playing field. While the beef industry supports enhancing the feed ban, it does place higher costs on Canadian processors and cattle producers than our US competitors. It is vital that we do not put our industry in crisis again, but the enhanced feed ban, without further transition measures has the potential to do just that.

"We are extremely grateful to Minister Dombrowksy and the McGuinty government. Ontario beef farmers have been through a tough crisis which has created many difficult issues for the industry," concludes Hardy. "This funding will help packing plants to focus where they need to in order to be ready to cope with infrastructure requirements in-house that are a direct result of the enhanced feed ban and its requirements at the processing level."  


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