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CETA at the starting gate

Trade: News Roundup from the November 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

As of October, about 72,000 head of cattle and calves were enrolled in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency program for certifying freedom from growth-enhancing products for export to the European Union at varying stages of production.

If they should all arrive at the same time, they would take up a week and a half of Western Canada’s federally inspected slaughter capacity, but such an event is highly unlikely for the foreseeable future. As a starting point, however, these numbers are probably higher than many in the industry expected.

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It is a number more suited to the current slaughter capacity in Canadian plants willing or able to meet the EU ban on antimicrobial baths commonly used on carcasses entering North American plants.

Research to confirm the safety of the baths is underway and the results will in time form the basis of Canadian submissions to EU food regulatory agencies to lift this ban. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association estimates it will probably take two years before we see any relaxation of this regulation in the EU.

In the meantime, a number of cow-calf producers who already have clients booked or have decided to get in on the ground floor have registered their calves in the birth-to-slaughter certification program making them eligible for delivery to the EU. There seems to be plenty of feedlot capacity to handle the current numbers.

As of last month the numbers by province were:

Ontario:

  • Total cattle (cows and calves) enrolled in the program: 345
  • Number of enrolled feedlots/backgrounders: 1
  • Number of enrolled cow-calf operations: 1

Saskatchewan:

  • Total cattle (cows and calves) enrolled in the program: 10,260
  • Number of enrolled feedlots/backgrounders: 6
  • Number of enrolled cow-calf operations: 9

Alberta:

  • Total cattle (cows and calves) enrolled in the program: 58,070
  • Number of enrolled feedlots/backgrounders: 19
  • Number of enrolled cow-calf operations: 24

British Columbia:

  • Total cattle (cows and calves) enrolled in the program: 3,537
  • Number of enrolled feedlots/backgrounders: 1
  • Number of enrolled cow-calf operations: 3

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