Volume 10 Issue 7 • November 18th, 2013

In This Issue ...


Overview of production requirements to export to EU

In the last issue of Action News, we told you about the tabling in the House of Commons of a technical summary of the final negotiated outcomes of the Canada-Europe Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). In this issue, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) provides producers with an overview of the production requirements for cattle used to produce beef for export to the European Union (EU). These components are part of the Canadian Program for Certifying Freedom from Growth Enhancing Products (GEPs) for Export of Beef to the EU. Beef from cattle produced under the program is currently being shipped to the EU and once the CETA comes into force there will be significantly greater market opportunities.

The CCA calculates that Canadian producers will have to raise up to 500,000 head annually under the EU hormone/beta-agonist free protocols to use up the CETA duty free quotas. The CETA provides new duty-free access for 64,950 tonnes of Canadian beef on a carcass weight equivalency basis which could be valued at nearly $600 million. Of this, 35,000 tonnes of fresh/chilled beef and 15,000 tonnes of frozen beef are reserved for Canada and can come from any grade of cattle, including veal.

For a general overview of some of what's involved in the approval process required to ship beef to the EU, click here. Interested parties are encouraged to contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for complete information.


Minister Ritz talks COOL in Windy City

Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz has carried CCA's message that U.S. mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) discriminates against imported livestock in the U.S. by describing it as "a political solution to a problem that doesn't exist." He drove that point home to executives gathered at the North American Meat Association's Outlook Conference in Chicago earlier this month. Joining Ritz in the Windy City were Agriculture Ministers from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and industry representatives including CCA Director of Government and International Relations John Masswohl, and Martin Rice from the Canadian Pork Council.

Minister Ritz reiterated Canada's position on COOL to the audience of meat executives – most of whom are in a unique position to understand that COOL is bad for business. Tyson stopped buying Canadian cattle from Canadian feedlots last month, citing the costs of segregation and warehousing related to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's May 23, 2013 amendment to the COOL rule.

Tyson's decision is precisely what the CCA has warned would happen as a result of the May 23 amendment and demonstrates why COOL is so negative on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. With 60-year low cattle numbers in the U.S., there is already over-capacity in the U.S. packing sector. Without Canadian cattle to keep those facilities running, COOL puts thousands of U.S. meat packing jobs at risk.

Minister Ritz suggested the fastest way to fix COOL would be to amend it in the U.S. Farm Bill. If that doesn't happen, Ritz warned that Canada will place retaliatory tariffs on U.S. beef, pork and several other products once it receives authorization from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to do so.

On September 25, 2013, a WTO compliance panel on COOL was established in Geneva to determine whether COOL, previously found to violate WTO obligations, has been brought into conformity by the USDA's May 23 regulatory amendment. The Government of Canada and the CCA share the position that the U.S. amendment falls short of compliance and in fact increases the discrimination against imported cattle and hogs in the U.S. marketplace. The compliance process, which includes the right of either party to appeal the panel's determination to the Appellate Body, is expected to take until late 2014.

In June, the Government of Canada released a list of U.S. commodities that could be targeted for retaliation in relation to the COOL dispute to help it seek retaliatory compensation of approximately $1.1 billion following the completion of ongoing WTO proceedings.


CCA introduces new communications coordinator

A native of Calgary, Anthony Murdoch comes to the CCA with a varied background in journalism and communications/marketing, most recently having worked at Olds College as a Communications/Marketing Coordinator helping to promote the College's agricultural and environmental programs.

A graduate from SAIT's Journalism program in 2002, Anthony worked as a reporter/photographer for The Mountaineer in Rocky Mountain House from 2003 to 2006, then moving onto communications and marketing roles with varied educational organizations in Calgary. Anthony can be reached at murdocha@cattle.ca or 403-275-8558 ext. 314.


Denmark shows impact of banning growth promoting antimicrobial use in cattle

Antimicrobial resistance is a highly charged issue. Headlines appear in the news on a regular basis suggesting that antibiotics are becoming less effective in humans due to over use of product by farmers. In this same vein, concerns have been raised that antimicrobial use in livestock leads to antimicrobial resistance and that some of the products used in food animals are closely related to antimicrobials that are important in human health. It's also been questioned whether antimicrobial resistance can be transferred among bacteria, which may reduce effectiveness of drugs used in human medicine.

antimicrobial use by category

Cattle producers, meanwhile, depend on the effectiveness of animal health products, and on consumers' confidence in how beef is raised and the safety of the beef they consume. Canadian research has repeatedly shown that antimicrobials are used responsibly by Canadian beef producers, and resistance to the most important classes of antibiotics in human medicine remains extremely rare in beef cattle. The Canadian beef industry also relies on surveillance to validate the safety of prudent antimicrobial use.

In Canada, the vast majority of antimicrobials used in cattle production are ionophores. Ionophores have no benefit to, nor are they licensed for use in humans. Ionophores act on rumen microbes; they selectively inhibit methanogenic bacteria and allow beneficial rumen bacteria to make more feed energy available to the animal, thereby improving feed efficiency and weight gain. Ionophores also prevent diseases like coccidiosis. Even if microbes developed resistance to ionophores, this would not make them resistant to classes of antimicrobials that are used in human medicine.

Eliminating the use of antimicrobial growth promotants, including ionophores, in cattle production would substantially reduce the overall use of antimicrobials. However, as the consequences of a ban on ionophores in Denmark suggest, discontinuing the use of such products would not lead to lower antimicrobial resistance, and may increase the use of antimicrobials that are important in human medicine.

cattle drug sales

Denmark phased out the use of those products in livestock production between 1994 and 1999. Since 2001, a clear trend of increased use of prescribed veterinary antimicrobials has occurred. The decrease in antimicrobial use has happened in the "medium importance" category, antimicrobials rarely used in human medicine anymore. Without the use of growth promoting antimicrobials, the need for antimicrobials that are important to human health increased. In addition, there has been no clear trend towards decreased antimicrobial resistance in Danish cattle or beef.

Continued use of antimicrobials of no importance to human health in Canadian beef production will be critical to the future competitiveness of and reduced environmental impacts by Canada's beef sector due to improved feed efficiency and reduced animal disease. Antimicrobial resistance will continue to be a research priority in Canada's beef industry to maintain or improve current prudence.


AMR surveillance programs

Several nations around the world have surveillance programs in place to monitor trends in antimicrobial use and resistance. In Canada, this is led by the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance (CIPARS). In the United States, surveillance is conducted by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS). These programs test for antimicrobial resistance in healthy animals arriving at slaughter plants as well as retail meat samples. In addition, various groups including the Beef Cattle Research Council and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada collect more detailed antimicrobial use and resistance information in a broader range of microbes and locations (e.g. feedlots, manure, soil, water).

To date, scientific surveillance has indicated that:

To learn more about antimicrobial use and resistance in Canadian cattle and beef, visit http://www.beefresearch.ca/research-topic.cfm/antimicrobial-resistance-11


CCA Action News

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

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 Canada's beef cattle industry representing 68,500 beef farms and feedlots.

Head office:
Ste. 180, 6815 8th Street NE, Calgary, AB   T2E 7H7
Phone: 403.275.8558   Fax: 403.274.5686

Ottawa office:
1207, 350 Sparks Street, Ottawa, ON   K1R 7S8
Phone: 613.233.9375   Fax: 613.233.2860