posted on Dec, 30 2004 @ 01:37 AM
The US Department of Argiculture has announced that they are re-classifying Canada as a 'minimal-risk region' for BSE. As of March 7, 2005, the
border will once again be open to live cattle under the age of 30 months, with certain restrictions. The lifting of the ban is a welcome relief for
Canadian ranchers who saw their largest market, worth over $1.8 billion in 2002, shut to them 19 months ago. After the US closed it's borders, 33
countries followed suit, and as a result over 4,200 jobs were lost, and the industry and areas that depend on it have lost over $5 billion.
EDMONTON (CP) - Cattle ranchers and beef industry officials were throwing cowboy hats in the air Wednesday after the United States announced sweeping
plans for opening the border in March to nearly all Canadian exports of beef and live cattle.
"Isn't that wonderful," whooped Mac McLean, owner of two feedlots near Lethbridge, Alta. "That's a big, big step. That's wonderful that they're going
to do that." But after 19 months of living without their largest market, many on the Canadian side warn that the relationship between the U.S. and
Canadian industries will never be the same again.
"This has been a real dose of reality for us," said Arno Doerksen of the Alberta Beef Producers Association.
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This is welcome news for beef ranchers on both sides of the border. The industry is so inter-connected, that what hurts one side, hurts the other.
The re-opening of the border will be seen as a positive sign around the world, and the new restrictions and procedures will help ensure the beef
supply on both sides of the border are safe for human consumption. Hopefully this will go a ways to helping both Canadian and American industries to
get other beef bans around the world lifted.
While visiting Canada last month, George Bush stated that he was trying to get the border open as quickly as he could, but I don't think anyone
expected it quite this fast. I think this goes to show how quickly he can make something happen if he wants to. And being a Texas rancher himself,
he knows how devastating this ban is to both sides.
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