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050820 AMI Urges Action on Older Canadian Cattle

August 6, 2005

Washington - The American Meat Institute is urging USDA to move fast on reopening the border to older Canadian cattle.

The institute, which represents companies that process about 70% of U.S. meat and poultry, says the industry is suffering without a steady supply of cows.

"Many U.S. beef packers that specialize in the slaughter of older animals still find themselves in an extremely difficult economic situation," President Patrick Boyle says in a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.

Boyle estimates the mad cow crisis has cost 7,800 American jobs since May 2003, when the first case of the disease was discovered in an Alberta cow.

The border reopened in July to Canadian cattle younger than 30 months, thought to be at lowest risk for contracting bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

USDA is expected to release a proposed rule on older cows by the end of the year if a legal battle with a Montana-based ranchers group is resolved.


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