CALGARY, Alta. — Cattle producers and transporters were assured a win by George W. Bush in the U.S. election would expedite the re-opening of the U.S. border to Canadian cattle, but a new case of mad cow disease south of the border could quash those hopes.
A potential discovery of mad cow disease in the U.S. this week may delay a decision to re-open the U.S. border to live Canadian cattle, the industry fears.
“It’s a concern that it will delay the border re-opening,” Alberta Beef Producers vice-chairman Darcy Davis told Calgary media. “Producers want some certainty when it comes to the transport of live cattle over the border. We’re still working hard, advocating for the rule to move from the USDA to the White House and trying to get the process moving now that the election is over.”
It may take up to a week to determine if the suspect cow in fact has BSE. It could prove to be the second U.S. cow to be discovered to be infected with mad cow disease in less than a year. The first one was traced back to Canada.
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association president, Stan Eby, told local media no new case of mad cow should set back progress made in re-opening the U.S. border to Canadian cattle.
“There is no need for it to affect trade as we see it today or in the future,” said Eby. “I see no reason for it to have an effect on present negotiations.”
The U.S. border has been closed to Canadian cattle haulers since May, 2003 when a single case of mad cow disease was discovered on a Northern Alberta farm.
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