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Legal wrangling continues as U.S. discovers possible BSE case

CALGARY, Alta. - The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) has submitted a "friend of the court" brief in an effort to stave off attempts by U.S. protectionist group R-CALF to permanently ban Canadia...

CALGARY, Alta. – The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) has submitted a “friend of the court” brief in an effort to stave off attempts by U.S. protectionist group R-CALF to permanently ban Canadian cattle.

The brief will be heard in the Montana Division of the U.S. District Court on July 27. Such briefs allow those affected by the outcome of a case to have their say in advance of a ruling.

The last friend of the court brief submitted by CCA was rejected last February.

The U.S. border remains closed to live Canadian cattle following a case of BSE that surfaced on an Alberta farm in May, 2003. The border closure has decimated the cattle industry and forced many livestock carriers to downsize or go out of business altogether.

Meanwhile, a possible case of BSE surfaced in the U.S. in June. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the cow in question was quite old and there was no evidence it had been imported. CCA immediately announced there should be no further trade actions against the U.S., and that the possible case of BSE should not impact discussions to re-open the U.S. border to Canadian cattle.

“There is no reason for Canada or any other country that imports cattle or beef from the United States to impose any new trade restricting measures should this animal be confirmed as BSE positive,” CCA announced. “By the same token, there is no reason for the United States or other countries to maintain any remaining restrictions on Canadian beef or cattle exports.”

The cow in question was being tested at the BSE World Reference Laboratory in Weybridge, England. At press time, USDA officials said it could take up to two weeks before the testing was conclusive.

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