National Farmers Union President Tom Buis has written the House and Senate asking them to support resolutions that would overturn USDA's final rule on importation of cattle from minimal risk countries. Senators Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced the legislation in the Senate, while in the House Representatives Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., and Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., brought forward the issue. Both bills have numerous co-sponsors.
Other groups such as R-CALF USA have been against the rule, which would allow importation of products from any age of cattle and live animals born after Mar. 1, 1999.
"At a minimum, consumers should know the origin of the meat they purchase before expanding trade with Canada. It simply does not make sense to risk American consumers' confidence in our meat supply by opening the Canadian border at a time when Canada has yet to demonstrate its BSE problem is under control," Buis said.
The rule was entered into the Federal Register on Sept. 18, giving Congress 60 days to review. If they do not overturn the rule it will take effect on Nov. 19.
In the letters to Congress, Buis requested among other things that Canada be able to verify complete compliance with the ruminant feed ban; international markets be firmly re-established; and mandatory country-of-origin labeling be in place before re-opening the Canadian border.