CALGARY, Alta. — Live Canadian cattle are still not permitted to cross into the U.S., but boxed Canadian beef is being shipped to the U.S. and Mexico at a faster pace than this time last year.
That’s prompted the Canadian cattle industry to consider building a massive slaughterhouse which would allow more beef imports while avoiding the hassles of a live cattle ban. Potential sites for the slaughterhouse include Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The $250 million plant would result in more shipments of beef into the U.S., but fewer shipments of live cattle.
Since September, beef shipments to the U.S. and Mexico are up between seven and 40 per cent per week compared to the same time last year. When the ban on live cattle is considered, however, Canada’s beef export market is only at 60 per cent of last year’s levels.
Processing more cattle in Canada at a massive slaughterhouse and then exporting the meat could make Canada the top beef exporter in the world, says Ted Haney, president of Canada Beef Export Federation.
“If there continues to be a lot of resistance to live cattle … the economic incentive to convert live beef is there,” he told local media, noting the proposed slaughterhouse could process a million cattle per year.
"That would make Canada the world’s number one beef exporting nation,” said Haney.
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