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Canadian border closed to cattle the right decision

DENVER—John Stencel, president of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU), said today he was extremely pleased with the 52-46 vote in the Senate yesterday to keep the U.S. border closed to Canadian cattle. “I applaud the bi-partisan effort by the U.S. Senate in passing Senate Joint Resolution 4 yesterday prohibiting the re-opening of the Canadian border March 7.”

The action was necessary to prevent the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) from moving forward prematurely to establish live cattle trade with Canada and other BSE-positive (bovine spongiform encphalopathy) countries.

“During floor debate in the Senate, it was made clear that Canada has not been able to demonstrate containment of their BSE outbreak, nor has Canada achieved compliance with its ruminant feed ban,” Stencel said. “Furthermore, many senators stated the fact that our largest beef export markets remain closed to U.S. beef and a number of senators remarked on the inappropriateness of this rule specifically because mandatory country-of-origin labeling is not in place.”

“We applaud the five senators from Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming who voted for the resolution. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., spoke in support of this important resolution and Sens. Bingamon, D-N.M.; Domenici, R-N.M.; Enzi, R-Wyo.; and Thomas, R-Wyo., voted for the resolution. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., voted against it.

Stencel also complimented the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) and their effort to keep the border closed. “R-CALF’s legal effort has added assurance the border will not be opened on March 7.”

U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull granted a temporary court order preventing the government’s plan to re-open the border. The action in the Senate and the injunction gives the United States hope that this will catch on in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Stephanie Herseth, D-S.D., is seeking fellow House members to co-sponsor her disapproval resolution, which is identical to the one passed by the Senate.

“We urge our 11 House members from our three states (Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming) to co-sponsor Rep. Herseth’s resolution,” Stencel said.