Today the USDA will appeal the preliminary injunction currently keeping the U.S. border closed to live Canadian cattle.
The appeal will be heard in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle. This is an appeal of the preliminary injunction only -- the case for a permanent injunction will go ahead on July 27 in U.S. District Court, Montana Division, no matter the outcome of the appeal of the preliminary injunction. The judges hearing the appeal are not expected to issue their ruling immediately.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American Farm Bureau Federation and the 29 state cattle organizations jointly signed a friend of the court brief in the case. NCBA President and Texas cattle producer Jim McAdams says the cattle group filed the brief "to ensure the safety of beef has its day in court."
"The science that says beef is safe from BSE was not represented in the decision issued by the district court in Montana. The judgeâ€™s conclusion that this rule â€˜presents a genuine risk of death for U.S. consumersâ€™ is simply not based on science," he says. "We will not let statements that question the safety of beef and the safety of our consumers go unchallenged. We will not let statements like the one above jeopardize consumer confidence in our beef supply, when consumers have every reason to believe in its safety."
"The human health risk from BSE is probably far lower than the risk of choking on a toothbrush," according to a new review by leading economists of the U.S. response to BSE, published in Choices, a publication of the American Agricultural Economics Association.
The authors continue: "Thus to suggest, as did Judge Richard Cebull in granting the injunction blocking imports of Canadian cattle, that BSE poses a â€˜genuine risk of death for U.S. customersâ€™ is a complete distortion of the concept of what is really risky."
The article, by John Fox, James Mintert, Ted Schroeder, Brian Coffey and Luc Valentin of the Department of Agriculture Economics at Kansas State University, notes that border closure in response to a very low BSE incidence in an exporting country is not endorsed by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), particularly when control measures are in place.
The Canadian Cattlemenâ€™s Association and Alberta Beef Producers will also appeal the denial of their request for intervenor status in the permanent injunction hearing. If that appeal is successful and intervenor status is granted, lawyers for CCA and ABP will be able to represent the interests of Canadian cattle producers in the permanent injunction hearing on July 27.