Montana seeks end to Canadian beef ban

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CALGARY, Alta. — Alberta officials have convinced Montana that the U.S. border should be re-opened to Canadian beef, but now the challenge is getting the rest of the country to follow suit.

Following meetings in Calgary yesterday, Montana Lt.-Gov. Karl Ohs said "We’re anxious to get normal trade moving again. We can all agree that the province of Alberta has done the work that it needs to investigate this. We’re now waiting to see what the scientists say…In the long run, the longer the border is closed, all of the beef industry in North America will suffer."

Meanwhile, Lethbridge County declared a disaster. The Lethbridge area has the highest concentration of feedlots in the province.

Reeve David Oseen, told local media that the industry is "on the verge of collapse all because of a single case of BSE."

Lethbridge alone expects the local economy could take a $1.5 billion hit when all is said and done.

“I’ve been told by restaurant owners that they are starting to feel effects, they are not getting as many people in. People just aren’t as willing to spend as much money,” Duncan Lloyd, chairman of the Mayors and Reeves Association of Southwest Alberta told local media.

Later this week, Canada will be evaluated on how it handled the situation by an international panel of mad cow experts. Their findings will be pivotal in determining how long the world continues to shun Canadian beef.

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