USDA Requests an Appeal on Candian Border Ruling

Ag department says minimal-risk regions rule is product of a multi-year process based on science.

The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, filed a request Thursday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit asking that the court overturn the decision issued by the U.S. District Court in Montana that granted a preliminary injunction to delay the implementation of USDA's minimal-risk regions rule, which would re-establish trade with Canada for beef products and live cattle under 30 months of age.

USDA says its rule is the product of a multi-year, deliberative, transparent and science-based process to ensure that human and animal health are fully protected.

"We remain confident that the requirements of the minimal-risk rule, in combination with the animal and public health measures already in place in the United States and Canada, provide the utmost protection to both U.S. consumers and livestock," a statement from the agency says. "We also remain fully confident in the underlying risk assessment, developed in accordance with the OIE guidelines, which determined Canada to be a minimal-risk region."

Jim McAdams, National Cattlemen's Beef Association president, says USDA's decision to appeal the injunction "will speed resolution of this issue and hopefully return this debate to a discussion of science and fact, versus politically-motivated litigation."

After the January Canadian BSE finds, NCBA outlined 11 issues that must be met before the largest cattle organization would support the border reopening. McAdams explains that "this litigation has pre-empted our ability to resolve these issues."

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