For almost two years now, the two national cattle-industry organizations have clashed concerning what steps should be taken to adequately protect the health and safety of our domestic cattle herd and our consumers against the introduction of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) from Canada.
In a letter sent today (Tuesday) from R-CALF USA President Leo McDonnell to Jan Lyons, president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), McDonnell called on the entire U.S. cattle industry to work together to defeat USDA's Final Rule to liberalize U.S. import protections against the introduction of BSE into the U.S. from Canada.
According to Meatingplace.com, Lyons declined the offer. She says "It is not in our members' interst to align ourselves with an organization that continues to question the safety of beef sold in the U.S., as you have done as recently Jan. 16 in your press release."
McDonnell suggested that NCBA, and all NCBA affiliates, join together with R-CALF USA, and all of its affiliates, to lobby the U.S. Congress to defeat USDA's Final Rule. "The resulting demonstration of unity by the U.S. cattle industry will undoubtedly convince Congress to act decisively to veto USDA's Final Rule," McDonnell wrote.
McDonnell explained that R-CALF USA's lawsuit against the agency's Final Rule (filed last week in U.S. District Court) provides an effective focal point that would allow the President, his Administration and Congress to "accurately assess the legitimate concerns of the United States' cattle industry regarding the Final Rule."
Lyons says NCBA does not support "litigation as the preferred means to reach a solution,"Meatingplace.com also report. Currently NCBA has a team in Canada seeking to get a better understanding of Canadian cattle and beef production, including feed ban compliance, cattle inventory, border crossing procedures and ongoing BSE surveillance among others. The team will not report any of its findings until after the members are informed at the annual meeting at the beginning of February.