Canada Eliminates Bluetongue Testing on U.S. Cattle
NASHVILLE - Reducing obsolete restrictions and government red tape is a critical goal for U.S. cattlemen that market live cattle internationally. That’s why the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) praised Friday’s decision by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to eliminate all bluetongue-related import restrictions on all U.S. cattle entering Canada.
“NCBA has fought long and hard on this issue, because our members felt strongly that these restrictions were costly and unnecessary,” said Terry Stokes, NCBA chief executive officer. “It’s gratifying to see these efforts pay off.”
CFIA also reduced testing requirements for anaplasmosis, based on advances in diagnostic testing for the disease.
Import bans on sheep, goats, and other small ruminants from the United States were also lifted by CFIA. These animals may now enter Canada for breeding purposes, under certain conditions.
“We’re focused on this victory as it relates to cattle,” Stokes said. “But the progress made with regard to other species is important to our farmer and rancher members that have diversified operations.”
Stokes said the decision by CFIA to move toward a science-based permit system for ruminant animal imports is extremely important for U.S. producers of breeding stock - eliminating unnecessary costs and procedures that impact their bottom line.
“If we’re going to ask U.S. cattlemen to compete in a global economy, then our trading partners need to reciprocate and open their markets to our cattle without imposing unjustified trade barriers,” Stokes said.
He stressed that Canada’s new regulatory plan is also significant for producers that do not export live cattle, because it represents further progress toward reliable, science-based trade.
“We must build relationships with trading partners based on science and international trading guidelines, so we can increase our access to global markets,” Stokes said. “When we do that, U.S. cattlemen are winners.”
NCBA members are expected to adopt a position today on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed rule to allow imports of Canadian cattle up to eight years of age, and beef from cattle of any age. Currently, imports of both cattle and beef from Canada must be 30 months of age or less. Comments are due March 12 on the proposal.
The NCBA Board of Directors holds its regular annual meeting today, concluding the 2007 Cattle Industry Annual Convention.