Iotron Technology Inc.


050507 Canadian Cattlemen to Ramp Up Processing

May 7, 2005

Canada's beef industry has warned the US that it will accelerate the expansion of its meat processing capacity because it can no longer wait for the USCanadian border to re-open to imports into the United States of live Canadian cattle.

The disclosure highlights the depths of frustration felt among Canada's cattlemen as successive efforts to re-open the border have failed.

The border has been closed since the discovery of a Canadian cow infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or ''mad cow'' disease -- in December 2003. That has prompted Japan and South Korea to resist reopening their markets to US beef.

Recent delays in re-opening the border have bolstered the argument in Canada that the country needs to expand its slaughtering and meat processing capacity. In the previous decade a growing proportion of Canadian cattle was being killed and processed in the US.

John Masswohl, director of international relations for the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, which represents 90,000 beef producers, said his members had ''had enough'' of waiting for the issue to be resolved. Canada now needed to press ahead with building its own slaughtering capacity. ''We can add the value in Canada and ship the beef ourselves,'' he said.

Recent efforts by the US Department of Agriculture to re-open the border were dealt a double blow last month when the US Senate voted down a proposal that would have designated Canada as an area at ''minimal risk'' from BSE. The same day, R-Calf, a Montana-based national US cattle association, won a temporary injunction blocking the USDA's proposal.

Mr Masswohl said the court action meant the issue was now ``being controlled by things over which we have no control.

''We want people in the US to realise that the status quo is not an option. We have been on this roller- coaster ride for the last two years and we've had enough,'' he told the Financial Times.


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