Volume 6 Issue 4 • December 19, 2011

In This Issue ...


CCA focused on COOL next steps

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association's (CCA) work continues on the country of origin labelling (COOL) file, following the November 18 ruling from the World Trade Organization (WTO) supporting Canada's position that provisions of COOL discriminate against live cattle and hogs imported into the U.S. from Canada to the detriment of Canadian cattle producers.

The U.S. has until early in 2012 to appeal the WTO ruling on COOL and the CCA is working with industry organizations in the U.S. towards achieving a U.S. decision not to appeal the ruling and to move toward a resolution.  

We were in Washington at the end of November working towards that objective. The mission was the latest in a long line of excursions the CCA has undertaken to Washington and throughout the U.S. in the past several months in anticipation of the WTO panel report. 

Our complaint has always been about the discrimination in the U.S. livestock marketplace that COOL causes and not the requirement to label meat imported into the U.S. with origin to inform consumers. 
The resolution we are seeking eliminates the need for segregation of imported livestock and meat during U.S. processing. This resolution would require a surgical amendment only and not a complete repeal of COOL.

Our approach for a resolution would enable the U.S. to meet its stated objective of providing U.S. consumers with origin information, but in a more meaningful and accurate manner than the current requirements.  The resolution would require a legislative amendment by the U.S. Congress. 

There are different options that could eliminate the COOL discrimination on Canadian livestock in the U.S.  One option is that any beef and pork from cattle and hogs slaughtered in the U.S. bear a U.S. origin label, with specific allowance for the voluntary inclusion of additional information on the country of birth and/or feeding of source animals.  We are coordinated with the Canadian pork producers on this objective.

Another option would be to permit voluntary labelling of beef and pork produced from animals slaughtered in the U.S. while maintaining the mandatory requirement on meat (not livestock) that is imported and not further processed in the U.S.

We cannot accept an outcome that places a so-called 'residency requirement' on Canadian cattle prior to slaughter in the U.S.  Since approximately two-thirds to three-quarters of our live cattle exports are for immediate slaughter, a residency requirement would do little to improve the situation for Canadian cattle producers.

Depending on the timeframe to achieve a legislative revision, we may also want to explore whether any transitional regulatory accommodations can be made to ameliorate the COOL burden in the interim.

Group Photo
The CCA was in Washington, D.C. recently to discuss COOL next steps. L to R John Masswohl, Ed Farrell, Dennis Laycraft, Travis Toews and Larry Schweitzer. Photo courtesy of the Canadian Embassy.



Beef Code of Practice renewal continues

Canfax Market BriefsThe Committee tasked with reviewing and updating Canada's Code of Practice for Beef had its most recent meeting on December 1 - 2 in Calgary. The group continues to work on coming to consensus on the content of the revised Code. Consensus is easier to achieve in some areas than others (think of discussing facilities vs. discussing dehorning). Science, what is practical from an implementation viewpoint and expectations of the public have all changed since the Code was last updated in 1991.

The committee is made up of representatives from British Columbia to Nova Scotia. Included are producers from every stage of production as well as representatives from other stakeholders including veterinarian, research, enforcement, animal welfare, governments, transport and processing. Even with this wide viewpoint working on the draft there will also be a public comment period later in 2012 where all interested people in Canada can have their say. After the comments are in, the committee will work to ensure those of value are incorporated into the final draft. Producers should read through the draft and provide comments as this step is important in ensuring nothing is missed or taken for granted.

Stay tuned for more on the Code. This document is important for industry as a reference and extension tool. It is also important to have so industry can show interested people how things are done in the Canadian beef cattle industry. 

The Code renewal project is funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Agricultural Flexibility Fund.


Global Market Situation & Outlook 2011/12 – Part I

The World Meat Markets conference was held in Divonne-les-Bains, France earlier in December. Canfax Research was there and filed this report. Part I provides an overview of current consumer demand. Part 2 provides an outlook for beef, pork and poultry and will appear in the January 3, 2012 edition of Action News.

North American consumers continue to be plagued with a dismally slow recovery from recession with the threat of a debt default and downgrade. U.S. unemployment is stubbornly high at 9 per cent, incomes remain below pre-recession levels and consequently consumer confidence is shaky. Despite this, GDP is projected to grow by 3.5 per cent in 2012 up from 2.5 per cent in 2011. Uncertainty has increased the national savings levels and reduced consumer spending. This cautiousness is expected to become ingrained into longer term buying habits. However, more dollars are being spent on food with expenditures back to pre-recession levels.

European consumers have seen no resolution to the Sovereign Debt Crisis and are at risk of a recession in 2012. The risk varies greatly from country to country within the EU, with the majority of consumers feeling the pinch more now than a year ago. Unemployment remains high projected at 9.8 per cent for 2012. Private consumption was only up 0.4 per cent in 2011. Beef consumption is projected to continue to decline in 2012 by 3 per cent, as high prices are maintained due to short supply. More Euros were spent on meat in 2011 with higher prices. These higher price levels are expected to stay throughout 2012. Pork consumption is also expected to decline 1.3 per cent with poultry being the only winner with consumption up a modest 0.7 per cent.

In contrast, Asian countries have continued to see growth albeit at a slower rate than previously. The Asian consumer prefers pork but high prices due to disease issues in the region have them trading down to poultry, but they will quickly return to pork as prices relax. In addition, high food prices are being further exasperated by inflation. While the average consumer is trading down in terms of protein consumption, the market for high quality beef is a demographic that is not as impacted by these recessionary pressures and grows year on year, with the main source supplied by import, especially in China. This top 5 per cent of the global population is in niche markets within a city or region of a country. So it is not about Asia or Russia but the high end restaurants in Moscow and Beijing that are selling high quality middle meats prepared in a traditional fashion (I.e. high quality Canadian beef served in a traditional Chinese dish in a high end restaurant).

The BRIIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia and China) are seeing a slowing to their dynamic growth, with inflation becoming a larger issue for politicians as food security and concerns about affordability arise as a dominant issue with consumers. These countries continue to see a growing middle class population with several million added each year. These consumers are young and spend a larger portion of their total dollars on food than developed nations. Brazil is increasingly focused on its growing domestic market for pork and beef. Poultry is the largest protein by volume, surpassing beef consumption domestically. This switch has occurred as beef reaches record high prices, while poultry prices have been more stable.

Watch for Part 2 or the Global Market Situation & Outlook 2011/12 from the World Meat Markets conference in the January 3, 2012 edition of Action News.


The CCA thanks its Prime Partners

The CCA recognizes and thanks the continued support of the Canadian cattle industry by Prime Partners: Merck Animal Health, Scotiabank and Farm Credit Canada.

To learn more about the CCA Partners Program, visit www.cattle.ca/cca-partners-program.


Seasons Greetings from the CCA


"As we head into the Christmas season, may you and your family truly discover the wonder and richness of the season and enjoy a prosperous new year," CCA President Travis Toews.

CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: John Masswohl, Ryder Lee, Brenna Grant
Written, edited and compiled by: Gina Teel and Tracy Sakatch

To sign up for CCA's “Action News”:
Visit www.cattle.ca and click on “Sign-up for Action News”.

For more information, contact:

CCA Communications at feedback@cattle.ca or visit our website at www.cattle.ca

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association is the national voice for nearly 83,000 Canadian beef cattle producers

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