National Cattlemen's Beef Association CEO Terry Stokes and Executive Director of Regulatory Affairs Gary Weber visited Ottawa, Canada last week for a joint Canada/U.S.-industry and government meeting on issues related to North American trade of live cattle and beef products.
The group discussed the results of a three-year study on the presence of a competent Bluetongue vector in Canada. This research has important implications with respect to Canadian Bluetongue-related import policies for live cattle which will also be discussed. Also, the group examined the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Food and Drug Administration proposals for animal feed and discussed their implications for the future of the North American industry.
In a statement from Stokes, he expresses disappointment on behalf of NCBA and its state affiliates by the lack of access to the Canadian market for U.S. feeder and breeding cattle. "While progress has been made to open the Canadian border to the movement of feeder cattle year-round, significant barriers still exist to the movement of breeding cattle," he says.
Stokes said by the end of the week's meeting, progress was made. "We expect resolution on Canadaâ€™s restrictions on bluetongue for all classes of U.S. cattle to end by mid-2006, after completion of an ongoing risk assessment project. On anaplasmosis, NCBA and APHIS made clear at the meeting the United Statesâ€™ expectation is that any risk mitigation measures are science-based and allow for expanded cattle trade into Canada," he says.
NCBA will not support advancing resumption of trade with Canada on cattle over 30 months until science-based harmonization is achieved on all animal health issues. APHIS Administrator Ron DeHaven testified last week that a proposed rule for Canadian cattle over 30 months is expected in the next six to nine months.