Canadian officials announced Thursday that a broader range of animals and animal products will be allowed into the country from the United States. That trade had been suspended with the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy found in the United States back in December 2003. Effective immediately, all classes of U.S. cattle, including those for breeding purposes born after 1999, are eligible for entry into Canada based on prescribed certification requirements.
Chuck Strahl, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister for Canada, remarked in a press statement that the country's import controls continue to provide the "highest levels of public and animal health protection. At the same time, Canada's new government is moving closer to re-integrating the North American cattle market, in accordance with international standards."
The scope of prohibitions to imports have been narrowed several times since 2003 based on safeguards put in place for both Canada and the United States. The countries maintain the restrictions remain science-based, but the effort continues to move both markets closer to normalized trade.
"This welcome announcement from Canada comes after some long and difficult trade negotiations between our two nations," says Mike John, National Cattlemen's Beef Producer and Missouri cattle producer in a press response to the Canadian announcement. "We are extremely pleased that this hard work has paid off, and we can further expand export market opportunities for U.S. cattle producers."
NCBA is also in support of a recent Canadian Food Inspection Agency proposal that would lift bluetongue restrictions for all classes of U.S. cattle exported to Western Canada.