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Another BSE irritant bites the dust

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

Anyone dinged with discounts on cull cows headed to the U.S. because they couldn’t document the animal was born after March 1, 1999, will have reason to rejoice over an easing of this export policy last month.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association has long argued that it no longer makes sense to require the individual age of slaughter cows on the export certificate since the number of cattle born prior to March 1999 has dwindled to virtually zero today.

A statistical analysis done by the CCA and presented to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA )and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulators during the annual Pacific North-West Economic Region conference demonstrated that the Canadian herd would be rid of these commercial pre-March 1999 beef and dairy cows as of 2017.

A review of the Canadian Angus, Here­ford, Simmental and Charolais herd books determined that as of 2016, 27 purebred cattle born in 1999, and 18 purebred animals born prior to 1999, were still alive in Canada. As many of those 27 head would have been born after March 1, 1999, the total number of cattle prior to March 1999 in Canada was likely less than 30 in 2016.

By the end of this year the CCA anticipates the number of elderly purebreds will be below 20, and all should be dead by 2020.

Last month the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) agreed with this argument and dropped the requirement that an export certificate must contain individual ages of cattle destined for immediate slaughter in the U.S.

It’s important to note, the USDA did not remove the requirement that cattle be born after March 1, 1999, only that the export certificate must state the age of the cattle. Certification is to be based on the professional judgement of the accredited veterinarians who examine the animals and various records prior to export.

The CCA is offering to share its cow age analysis with accredited veterinarians who are responsible for clearing these cattle for shipment to the U.S.

It is also anxious to hear from producers to find out if this change has made it easier for them to have their culls certified for export.

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