CFIA official says live cattle ban may last years

by Canadian Shipper

A senior Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) official painted a bleak picture for cattle shippers yesterday, predicting the U.S. ban on live Canadian cattle could last for years.

That scenario could wipe out a $1.8 billion industry and force the closure of many livestock trucking companies in Canada. But Francine Lord, national manager of imports and exports for the CFIA, told local media trade will likely resume in beef and other meat products.

“We don’t have any tests for live animals. That’s the problem,” Lord said. “If we have tests on live animals, it would be easy.”

Lord’s remarks didn’t sit well with Herb McLane of the Canadian Beef Breeders Council.

“I’m very disappointed a senior official in CFIA would articulate that position,” he told local media. “We feel we are justified on a number of avenues, on the basis of science, that we have a safe product.”

The cattle industry itself could recover even if the border remains closed to live cattle, predicted Cindy McCreath of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

“It would be problematic, but if we can get the border opened to muscle cuts of beef, it would be a big relief,” she said.

Canada would likely have to expand its meat-packing industry and build more slaughterhouses to accommodate the increased amount of packing that would to take place in Canada, rather than the U.S. if that scenario plays out.

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