Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Thursday, March 03, 2005

CRAIG VOTES TO PROHIBIT CANADIAN CATTLE IMPORTS TO U.S.

Resolution to keep border closed until mad cow concerns are addressed

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho Senator Larry Craig joined 51 of his colleagues today in supporting a resolution asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to delay opening the border with Canada for live cattle imports.

Before the vote, Senator Craig spoke to the Senate, including recognizing the Bush Administration’s work to reopen Japan to U.S. beef. Below are excerpts of those remarks:

“It is fair for us to err on the side of science. That’s where we ought to be. That’s where our industry is. That’s where we ought to demand that the Canadian industry is. Our industry folks have been north of the border. They see the tremendous progress that has been made. Our Secretary of Agriculture has recognized that progress and, in part, premised his rule on that basis.

“At the same time, I am one of those who remain skeptical. I think we have to assure Canadian beef is safe. We cannot take another hit in our ag economy. We’ve had our act together here in the Lower 48 for a good long while, prohibiting the incorporation of animal protein in the feed supply. We’ve played by the rules and they have been sustainable, scientific rules, assuring the American consumer safe, high-quality beef.

“When Canada sneezed and we got the cold, our trading partners backed away. In backing away, we lost a billion-dollar Japanese market. Yes, the President, Vice-President, and Secretary of State have all openly pressured Japan to reopen its market to U.S. beef. However, I cannot in good conscience open a border that brings greater numbers to the Lower 48 when the science remains questionable and we haven’t resumed the Pacific Rim markets that are extremely valuable to the livestock industry.”

The resolution, S. J. Res. 4, expresses Congress’ disapproval of an USDA final rule allowing Canadian beef to enter the United States. Currently, Canadian cattle are not allowed into the United States because of concern over bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly referred to as mad cow disease.

For more information on what Senator Craig is doing for Idaho agriculture, please read his Ag Action Plan at http://craig.senate.gov/i_agactionplan.htm.

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