Published on: July 18, 2005A temporary injunction preventing the import of Canadian cattle into the United States has been overturned by the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Officials of the two countries already have begun the certification process, and US Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said he hoped it would take “days, not weeks” to resume cattle trade between the two countries.
The original ban was put into place in May 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was found in Canada. However, since that time a lot of changes have taken place in the mad cow universe – a case of mad cow disease was found in the US in an animal that originated in Canada, and then, just recently, a case of native mad cow disease was found in an animal born in Texas. The border was supposed to be opened several months ago, but a ranchers group - the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-Calf) - fought for a continued ban because of what they said was a fear of mad cow disease,
Some questioned their sincerity, noting that a continued ban of Canadian cattle kept prices high for US cattle. US beef packers have favored elimination of the ban because of a shortage of beef that has hurt their profits.
R-Calf has not said it whether it will appeal this new decision.
- KC's View:
- This court decision is likely to help the Bush administration in one other area – its ongoing negotiations with Japan to get that nation to open its borders to US beef. Those borders have been closed since the first case of mad cow disease was found in the US, with the Japanese argument arguing that the US needed to have more stringent testing; it also was hard to argue that Japan should open its borers to US beef when the United States had its borders closed to Canadian beef.
We hope that when another case of mad cow is found in the US and/or in Canada, it will not be evident that this most recent decision was a result of political expedience as opposed to concern for public health.
And we think it is a matter of “when” and not “if.”