U.S. seeks to boost Canadian beef, cattle imports

US - The Bush administration said Thursday it will seek to increase cattle and beef imports from Canada despite questions about Canadian safeguards against mad cow disease.
calendar icon 5 January 2007
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Canada discovered five new cases of the disease last year. One in particular was disturbing because the cow was born years after Canada adopted safeguards to keep the disease from spreading.

The United States banned Canadian cattle and beef after Canada found its first case of mad cow disease in May 2003. Later that year, an imported Canadian cow in Washington state became the first U.S. case of mad cow disease.

Canadian imports of beef resumed swiftly, but a court battle with a Western ranchers' group kept the border from reopening to live cattle until July 2005.

Still, beef and cattle imports have been restricted to animals younger than 30 months because older animals carry a higher risk of having mad cow disease, which is known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.

The Agriculture Department is proposing to allow imports of beef and cattle from Canadian cattle 30 months and older. Live animals that are imported for breeding and slaughter in the U.S. must be born on or after March 1, 1999.

The plan will go through 60 days of public comment until March 12. Department officials said they will take into account all comments before proceeding, possibly in the summer.

Source: Sioux City Journal
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