Harmonizing animal health standards has been a key focus of ongoing negotiations between U.S. and Canada cattle industries. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) has made it clear that before Canada would be able to resume live cattle trade with the U.S., Canada would need to apply a scientific approach to imports of U.S. cattle.
With an extended comment period for live cattle trade ending April 7, Canada may have felt the urgency to get the demand resolved. And on Wednesday, they did exactly that. The Canadian Food Inspection Agencyâ€™s (CFIA) has announced that U.S. feeder cattle from 39 states will be permitted to be imported into approved Canadian feedlots year-round without testing for the livestock diseases anaplasmosis and bluetongue.
The Canadian Cattlemen's Association and NCBA have been working together for many years to achieve this change in Canadian policy. Historically U.S. feeder cattle imported into Canada during the summer months from all U.S. states had to be tested for anaplasmosis and bluetongue. The cost of the tests made these cattle less competitive in the marketplace and domestic cattle producers viewed the testing requirements as an artificial trade barrier not based on science. Anaplasmosis and bluetongue are livestock diseases and have no impact on human health.
"Iâ€™m very happy that all CCA and NCBAâ€™s hard work on this issue has finally achieved results," says Neil Jahnke, President of the CCA. "The testing requirements have been a trade irritant for many years for U.S. producers and have negatively affected our cross-border relations."
"Weâ€™re urging the U.S. to make its decision to re-open the border to Canadian live cattle based on science, and Canada needed to show good faith by adjusting rules to be more science-based as well," says Arno Doerksen, Chair of the CCA Animal Health Committee.