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The Canadian lobby effort to re-open the U.S. border to Canadian live cattle got an ally this week when the National Meat Association, based in Washington, D.C. asked the U.S. District Court in Billings, Montana to grant it intervenor status in the lawsuit R-CALF v. USDA. The more than 500 companies that NMA represents include meat packers and processors, equipment manufacturers and suppliers. NMA is concerned that the survival of the U.S. beef slaughter industry is at serious risk, because of the inability of facilities to maintain efficient slaughter levels. With the U.S.-Canada border closed to all imports of cattle, sufficient livestock numbers are not available to many U.S. slaughterhouses. According to the NMA, the current closure has resulted in economic hardship, cutbacks in employment and production, and shutdown of at least one U.S. beef slaughter facility. "R-CALF is trying to keep the border closed to Canadian cattle and the economic aftermath of this case could so negatively impact our members that it requires our intervention. If the situation continues as it is, it will cause irreparable harm to the industry," NMA Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow said. NMA advocates the earliest possible reopening of the U.S. Canada border to imports of healthy slaughter cattle, believing that this is beneficial both to consumers and the firms that slaughter and process cattle. Intervenor status will provide NMA the opportunity to participate if R-CALF uses the current litigation to unduly delay resumption of trade.
AMI's Boyle boosts Canadian imports in editorial

by Pete Hisey on 9/22/04 for Meatingplace.com

The U.S. ban on cattle imports from Canada is hurting both countries — that's what the American Meat Institute's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J. Patrick Boyle wrote in an editorial published in the September issue of Alberta Beef magazine.

"The U.S. border should never have been closed for an extended period of time in the first place," Boyle wrote, "because … Canadian beef is as safe from BSE as is American beef, and failing to resume trade immediately is causing those who make a living in the beef industry on both sides of the border to be permanently, and perhaps irrevocably, damaged."

The import ban has created a surplus of cattle in Canada, leading to crashing prices, while the lack of Canadian cattle has left American processors and packers with their facilities running at less than capacity. Boyle recommends that trade harmonization agreements be developed that codify universal precautions against BSE so that trade will never be disrupted again.

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