Volume 9 Issue 6 • June 3rd, 2013

In This Issue ...


Canada tells Dispute Settlement Body of damaging impact of COOL

The day after the U.S. implemented an amendment to the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations that actually increases the discrimination against imported cattle, Canada was in front of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) stating its displeasure over said regulatory changes.

At the May 24 meeting in Geneva, Canada stated its position that the regulatory changes have not brought the U.S. into compliance with the WTO Agreement as purported by the U.S., and that 'Canada is extremely disappointed with these regulatory changes.'

Canada also pointed out that the regulatory changes have the opposite effect of compliance because they increase the discrimination by the U.S. against Canadian livestock. They also increase the damaging effects of the COOL measure on both Canadian and U.S. industry.

'As a result, Canada is considering all of its options under the DSU [Dispute Settlement Understanding] to secure complete compliance by the United States with its WTO obligations,' according to the Canadian statement.

The WTO ruled last summer that COOL is in violation because the requirement for meat produced in the U.S. from imported livestock to bear a different label from meat produced from U.S.-born livestock causes segregation, with additional handling costs inflicted disproportionately on imported livestock. The WTO gave the U.S. until May 23 to bring the COOL regulations into compliance.

The regulatory change proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) however is expected to necessitate additional segregation which will increase the impact of COOL to an estimated $90 to $100 per head compared with the current $25 to $40 per head. COOL discrimination costs Canadian cattle producers around $640 million per year, losses incurred since COOL was implemented in late 2008.

The CCA is urging the Government of Canada to proceed immediately to initiate a WTO compliance panel and request authority to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports to Canada.  A panel could take 9 to 12 months to produce both a ruling and an appeal. However, rather than wait for the authority to implement those retaliatory tariffs, the CCA is requesting the Government of Canada to publish immediately a list of retaliatory options for public comment.

In terms of next steps, Canada is preparing its arguments aimed at explaining to a compliance panel why the U.S. amendment does not comply with the WTO Agreement. This involves both legal arguments regarding how the U.S. rule contravenes the WTO text and providing evidence to demonstrate the economic impact of the discrimination.  It is likely that the compliance panelists will be the same as those that served on the original panel and therefore are already familiar with the facts of the case.

The CCA will continue to fight COOL until a resolution that genuinely eliminates the discrimination is achieved. The CCA has so far spent in excess of $2 million in legal and advocacy expenses to fight COOL. The CCA's position remains that the only outcome that would bring the U.S. into compliance with the WTO is to amend the COOL legislation to allow either a single mandatory label for all meat produced in the U.S. or to allow for voluntary labelling. Until this outcome is achieved, the CCA will continue to work with its allies in the U.S. and with the Government of Canada to pursue retaliatory or compensation options through the WTO.


Japan, U.S., granted Negligible Risk status for BSE by OIE

During the 81st General Session of the World Health Organisation (OIE) in Paris, France, resolutions were passed to change the status of various countries for a number of diseases, including Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). A number of countries were granted Controlled Risk status and the following were granted Negligible Risk status: Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and the U.S.

The change of status for Japan and the U.S. should have no impact on Canada's ability to export the products and animals that it currently can. Canada's Controlled Risk status determines what products and animals can be exported. Moreover, the U.S. achieved Negligible Risk while trading animals for feeding and slaughter with Canada.

Canada could be approved for Negligible Risk status in the spring 2016 based on the measures we have in place and through surveillance that demonstrates those measures are effective.


Beef cattle Code of Practice update

Canfax Market Briefs

The process to renew the Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle through the National Farm Animal Care Council is entering the final stages, with the final code on track to be released later this summer. In May, the code development committee held its final meeting to consider the comments submitted during the Code's public comment period that concluded March 8. The final code will be released following translation and other last steps.

The renewed Code of Practice for Beef Cattle is important for our industry. Developed with input from broad stakeholder base and from a science-based perspective, the Code will demonstrate to the public and consumers that producers are proactive on animal care. A renewed code will help in the conversations industry needs to have with these important groups.


CYL update

Biographies of Cattlemen's Young Leaders (CYL) 2013-14 program mentees are now available on www.cattlemensyoungleaders.com. CYL looks forward to posting the mentor-mentee pairings in the coming weeks once the mentor selection and pairings process for the upcoming program year are finalized.

In other CYL news, CYL mentees along with program graduates have created videos that promote the ranching lifestyle and beef as a protein choice as one of the projects that the Young Ranchers group was tasked with at last fall's Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA) Conference. These videos, along with those created by the Young Ranchers in Australia, Mexico, New Zealand and the U.S., can be viewed on the FNBA YouTube Channel. (www.youtube.com/fivenationsbeef) The country that receives the most collective 'views' on their videos will be awarded a flight and registration fee for one of their Young Ranchers to attend the FNBA Conference in Brisbane, Australia in September.

CYL mentees will be busy this summer kicking off their mentorships. Industry events such as the Beef Value Chain Roundtable, Beef Innovations Symposium, International Livestock Congress, and the Calgary Stampede Cattle Trail are just a few that CYLs will be attending.

CYL will be hosting two days of training activities prior to the CCA Semi-Annual Meeting in August in London, Ontario as part of the CYL Step 2 Initiative. CYLs past and present will be participating in business skill development training on August 11 and governance training on August 12. A Meet and Greet evening is also scheduled for August 12 to provide industry with an update on the program and a networking opportunity for CYLs.

Started by the CCA in 2010, the CYL Program provides industry-specific training and mentorship opportunities to young producers. CYL participants have the opportunity to explore a potential career choice or involvement with a provincial/national producer organization, while gaining the expertise and business acumen necessary to sustain the cattle industry into the future.

Funding for the CYL Program is made available through its Foundation Partners, UFA Co-operative Ltd., the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) and Cargill, as well as our Gold Sponsor Farm Credit Canada.


CCA involved in worthy causes on behalf of Canada's beef producers

The Steaks for Soldiers program has come full circle returning to Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Petawawa from which it first began. In 2007 the CCA sponsored 1,700 steaks at the original Steaks for Soldiers event which was held at CFB Petawawa. Shortly thereafter Manitoba business people Harvey Dann and Jackie Dann independently spearheaded the Steaks for Soldiers campaign with the intent to bring the program to bases across Canada as a way for beef producers to extend their gratitude to the Canadian Forces. Since the Dann's took charge of the campaign the Steaks for Soldiers program has been held at CFB Edmonton, CFB Shilo and CFB Valcartier and on June 1 it returned to where it all began at CFB Petawawa, a testament to the program's success and its expansion across Canada. CFB Shilo hosted its third Steaks for Soldiers event on the same day only this time 1,500 hamburgers were served to soldiers leaving for Afghanistan.

At CFB Petawawa, Dann along with representatives from the Ontario Cattlemen's Association, Canada Beef Inc., local cattle producers and participants and St Helen's Meat Packers Ltd. helped serve 750 New York medallion steaks to the troops and their families. At CFB Shilo representatives from CCA, Manitoba Beef Producers and local cattle producers and participants helped serve 1,500 6oz burgers to the troops and their families. The burgers were supplied by Preferred Meats Inc. with transport provided by Gardewine North.

The CCA was involved in another worthy event on behalf of Canada's beef producers. The Ottawa Food Bank hosted Food Aid Day on May 31 at Ottawa City Hall and the National Headquarters Complex for the Agriculture Portfolio. The event raises funds by selling gourmet hamburgers at a barbecue event, hosting a radiothon and through donations. The funds are used to purchase cull cows from Ottawa-area sale barns. The cull animals are then processed locally into ground beef, which is frozen and distributed to the food bank's member agencies.

Since 2005, Ontario cattle producers have donated 201 cows to the program. Through funds raised, the Ottawa Food Bank program has also purchased 1,626 cows and more than 789,246 pounds of ground beef have been distributed to Ottawa families, food banks and shelters. Watch for the results of this year's Food Aid Day in the next issue of Action News.

A special thanks to the Canadian Meat Council for covering the cost of the beef for the barbeque. The CCA would like to thank producers who contributed to the Steaks for Soldiers campaign and the Ottawa Food Bank's Food Aid program.


Changes to the CFIA anthrax program

Anthrax is a rapid, fatal disease caused by bacteria (Bacillus anthracis) that exist as inactive spores in the soil and can remain dormant for many years. Animals contract the disease when they consume infected soil, feed or water and spores become active within the animal, causing death within hours. Initial symptoms include weakness, fever, and excitability, followed by depression, difficulty breathing, lack of coordination and convulsions. There may also be a bloody discharge, which can further contaminate the soil. However, due to the rapid progression of the disease, death is often the first sign.

A few isolated cases of anthrax occur almost every year in Western Canada. These usually appear during a period of hot, dry weather following a period of wet weather or flooding which brings the spores to the surface of the soil. Conditions that increase the risk of soil consumption by cattle (i.e. tillage, drought, close cut hay) increase the risk of anthrax.

Click here to continue reading, with information on vaccination and treatment options, what to do if you suspect a case of anthrax, and recent changes to the CFIA anthrax program.


CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: John Masswohl, Ryder Lee, Jolene Noble, Karin Schmid
Written, edited and compiled by: Gina Teel and Matthew French

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The Canadian Cattlemen's Association is the national voice for Canada's beef cattle industry representing 68,500 beef farms and feedlots.

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