SALEM, Ohio – The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a lower court’s injunction, reopening the Canadian border to live cattle and ruminant shipments July 14.
Just four days later, the first shipments arrived.
“It is with great pleasure that I advise today is the first day since May 2003 that live cattle shipments are crossing the border from Canada into the United States,” said Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Andy Mitchell.
The border is now open to cattle and bison less than 30 months of age and goats and sheep less than 12 months for immediate slaughter and feeding.
Process. The process for importing shipments of live cattle and other ruminants begins in Canada, according to the USDA.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will issue health certificates to verify the age and identification of the animal and ensure it meets the minimal-risk rule criteria.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will review the documentation before releasing the animals to APHIS veterinarians at border inspection facilities.
Inspectors will also verify U.S. requirements are met at the point of slaughter.
In court. After Canada’s first mad cow case in May 2003, the U.S. closed its border.
In a lawsuit filed Jan. 10, 2005, Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF) asked a district court to stop the USDA from allowing Canadian live feeder cattle into the U.S.
R-CALF said relaxing restrictions on Canadian imports in the face of mad cow disease would hurt the cattle industry and put human health at risk.
The U.S. District Court in Montana granted a preliminary injunction to delay the implementation of USDA’s minimal-risk regions rule that would open the border.
Then, March 17, the U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the USDA, filed an appeal with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Montana court’s decision.
Good news. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said the court’s latest decision is “great news for the future of the U.S. beef industry, specifically the many ranchers, feeders, and processing plants that have been struggling to make ends meet due to the closed border.”
“It also bolsters our position with other international trading partners by following the very advice we have given them to base trade decisions on sound science.”
Several trade and industry group say the decision is good news, as well.
“We are confident this action will help send a clear message to other nations that the United States stands behind science, and for them to do otherwise clearly imperils their positions as valued trading partners,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau.
Jim McAdams, a Texas cattleman and president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said the court ruling comes at peak marketing times for U.S. ranchers.
“I for one am hoping we can put these court battles behind us so producers can regain control over the decisions that impact their profitability. We have too much yet to get done to distract ourselves with judicial panels and trial lawyers,” he said.
Against. National Farmers Union and R-CALF –
STAY INFORMED. SIGN UP!
Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!