The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture had a firm basis for determining that the resumption of ruminant imports from Canada would not significantly increase the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy to the American population, according to opinions from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel.
The 56-page 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, explaining a two-paragraph order 11 days ago to allow live Canada beef imports under 30 months, said a Montana district court in March overstated the risk of such imports, which the U.S. Agriculture Department had wanted to resume.
The court's reasoning released Monday also stated that Canadaâ€™s already low risk of BSE is decreasing and that R-CALF has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its action.
R-CALF, the producer group who led the fight to keep Canadian beef out of the United States, hopes to still have an opportunity to present its case before the District Court, says a statement from R-CALF USA President and Co-Founder Leo McDonnell. The final hearing on the merits of the case originally was scheduled for July 27, 2005, but last week, the District Court postponed the hearing until receipt of the 9th Circuitâ€™s opinion.
"We will consider our legal options over the coming days. However, the 9th Circuitâ€™s opinion clearly documents the great divide between the government and certain segments of the industry -- those who are willing to tolerate a risk of BSE today -- and other industry groups, like R-CALF, and consumers -- who want to seize this opportunity to effectively prevent the spread of BSE and protect the U.S. cattle industry and consumers. The United Kingdom and many European countries had this same debate and unfortunately, did too little, too late," McDonnell says.