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R-CALF's Inadequacy Claims: Conclusion PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Tuesday, 31 May 2005
AFF Sentinel Vol. 2, #26

What R-CALF Really Wants & What They'll Claim to Get It

First, from the Follow-up File: R- CALF had claimed that Canada had deliberately lowered testing numbers after discovering the BSE cases in December and January. We asked the government directly if it had changed testing procedures in 2005.

"Absolutely not," was Darcy Undseth's reply. He is Veterinary Program officer for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). He also noted what we had already observed from CFIA's website - April's testing numbers had increased to over 7,000, a significantly increased number over each of the first three months of the year, following typical seasonal marketing patterns.

In the last edition, we noted that R-CALF claimed Canada's testing to date indicates that Canada may have a problem comparable to France and Germany. We pointed out that the huge difference in the number of cases -- over 1,300 vs. four -- during the same time period, belies this claim. We also noted that the much older slaughter class of cattle in the EU compared to the U.S. and Canada makes the comparison invalid.

It is also worthy of note that the EU did not institute a ruminant feed ban until 1994, and compliance was suspect for some years. Because Europe does not have large supplies of protein sources like soy bean meal, the use of meat and bone meal was much more widespread and important. A total ban of the use of animal protein to all animals wasn't even discussed until 2000 and implemented until 2001 in the EU because of the billions of dollars in added feed cost.

R-CALF also claims that Canada's "inadequate" testing program leaves the world, "in the dark" regarding how widespread BSE is in Canada's cow herd. In fact, Canada has an exceedingly adequate testing program. Far from keeping people in the dark, Canada announced and acknowledged its discoveries far faster than Japan or the U.K., who hid their problems for many months, damaging government credibility. Both Canada and the U.S. have followed the transparent testing and announcement approach necessary to maintain consumer confidence.

As this four-part series has illustrated, R-CALF appears to have one overall goal -- keep the border shut to Canadian cattle. In keeping with basic Liberal Activist Group (LAG) operating strategies -- the end justifies the means - they have resorted to whatever disinformation tactics they could think of. R-CALF has:

  • misrepresented the testing levels of Canada's surveillance program
  • implied the OIE's recommended testing levels are different than they really are
  • made misleading comparisons of Canada's testing numbers to EU countries with different age classes of cattle, different levels of infection and different consumer attitudes
  • deliberately created links in the minds of the uninformed between animal disease surveillance and human health and food safety
  • created the impression that BSE in cattle is a contagious disease
  • raised doubt regarding the effectiveness of the scientifically proven procedure of SRM removal to insure food safety
  • claiming that Canada should be testing normal slaughter cattle, when that is not what the OIE recommends

The real truth is that R-CALF does not want any kind of cattle imported into the U.S., does not see trade as a two-way street, couldn't care less if we export U.S. beef to gain added value from lucrative overseas markets, wants only to serve the domestic market and wants to write off the 96 percent of the world's population outside our borders as unimportant to the future of American cattlemen.

*"Inadequacy of Canada's BSE Surveillance Program," R-CALF, 4/28/05

Next time: R-CALF is not satisfied with just live cattle.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 24 June 2006 )
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