Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 26° Clear
News >  Spokane

Cattle ranchers sue over Canadian imports

Becky Bohrer Associated Press

BILLINGS – A cattlemen’s group is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture, saying the agency’s plan to allow live cattle and expanded beef imports from Canada would pose a risk to both consumers and U.S. producers.

Canadian officials just this month confirmed a new case of mad cow disease.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Billings by R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America, asks a federal judge to keep the USDA from implementing the plan and to prevent the importation of “all live cattle of Canadian origin and all edible bovine meat products derived from cattle of Canadian origin.”

The suit follows the USDA’s announcement last month that it will allow imports of cattle under 30 months and certain other animals and products from Canada, including beef products, beginning in March.

“It’s unbelievable that R-CALF has to remind USDA that the Animal Health Protection Act obligates the agriculture secretary to ‘protect the agriculture, environment, economy, health and welfare of the people of the United States,’ and specifically to prevent, detect, control and eradicate animal diseases,” R-CALF president Leo McDonnell said in a statement.

Meghan Thomas, a spokeswoman with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit names as defendants the USDA, APHIS and the agriculture secretary.

R-CALF contends that the USDA plan would increase the risk of infection of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, in cattle in this country, as well as expose U.S. consumers to increased risk of a disease that people who eat meat contaminated with BSE can contract. The group also claims the plan will expose U.S. cattle producers to “severe economic hardship.”

R-CALF claims that the market for cattle will be “adversely affected” by allowing the expanded trade.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.