Keep Canadian Border Closed

Assembly Agriculture Committee advances resolution urging Congress to keep the Canadian border closed to the importing of live cattle
May 9, 2005

Recognizing the many health and safety concerns that have been raised relative to the discovery of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) better known as Mad Cow Disease, the Assembly Agriculture Committee has passed a resolution calling on Congress to nullify the United States Department of Agriculture’s decision to resume the importation of live cattle from Canada.

"This could pose a very real and significant health and safety concern not only for our farmers but also for the consuming public in New York State and throughout the United States," said Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair, Bill Magee (D-Nelson). "It is, to say the least, premature for the United States Department of Agriculture to commit to reopening the border until we are sure the risk is not only minimized but eradicated."

In December of 2004, the USDA announced that young live cattle from Canada will once again be allowed across the border into the United States beginning on March 7, 2005 despite the fact that just five days after that announcement Canadian officials confirmed another case of BSE in Alberta. This finding was very significant given that it had been determined that the animal was born after 1997 when more stringent regulations were placed on the manufacturing of feed.

"We need to protect the farmers and consumers of this country from any possibility of Mad Cow disease being imported into the United States and, hopefully, Congress will follow our lead in urging disapproval of this dramatic decision and asking the President to ensure that the health and safety of our agriculture industry by taking a wait and see approach to the reopening of the border," Magee concluded.