Province Shows Commitment To Helping Ontario Beef Sector Adjust to Enhanced Feed Ban

    GUELPH, ON, April 9 /CNW/ - The Ontario Cattlemen's Association (OCA)
thanks the McGuinty government for releasing funds that will help the Ontario
processing sector comply with Canada's enhanced feed ban, as announced today
by The Honourable Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural
Affairs. On February 15, 2007, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) made
a presentation to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, asking
for support for the creation of transition measures to ensure the timely and
non-disruptive implementation of the enhancements to Canada's feed policy. The
$6 million announced today shows that the provincial government was able to
respond to some of the industry's concerns.
    Canada's enhanced feed ban - calling for elimination of Specified Risk
Materials (SRMs), from all animal feeds, pet foods and fertilizers - was
announced last June by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Canada's beef
industry endorsed the motives for the enhancement, which will significantly
accelerate Canada's progress toward eradicating Bovine Spongiform
Encephalopathy (BSE) from the Canada's cattle herd, by preventing more than
99% of any potential BSE infectivity from entering the Canadian feed system.
However, the requirements of the strengthened feed control measures, due to
come into place on July 12th of this year, were of great concern the industry.
    "The feed ban and its enhancement will speed the eradication of BSE from
Canada's herd, and expedite normalized trade with international customers.
While it is important to take these steps, it is vital to ensure that
implementation of the feed ban enhancement goes smoothly," says Gord Hardy,
OCA Vice-President. "Canada's cattle producers compete in the North American
market and are part of an integrated chain. Large operations are better able
to adapt to changes like this. Small operations have more challenges."
    Today, Canada is the largest exporter of grain-fed cattle and beef
products in the world. The industry can compete providing there is a level
playing field. While the beef industry supports enhancing the feed ban, it
does place higher costs on Canadian processors and cattle producers than our
US competitors. It is vital that we do not put our industry in crisis again,
but the enhanced feed ban, without further transition measures has the
potential to do just that.
    "We are extremely grateful to Minister Dombrowksy and the McGuinty
government. Ontario beef farmers have been through a tough crisis which has
created many difficult issues for the industry," concludes Hardy. "This
funding will help packing plants to focus where they need to in order to be
ready to cope with infrastructure requirements in-house that are a direct
result of the enhanced feed ban and its requirements at the processing level."
    In the Canadian beef industry, each sector relies on the strength and
abilities of the next, and while all sectors were supportive of the enhanced
feed ban, the swift implementation mandated would be near impossible without
significant financial support, such as that shown by the province today.

For further information:

For further information: Gord Hardy, OCA Vice-President: (519) 227-1113;
Dave Stewart, OCA Executive Director: (519) 824-0334; Lianne Appleby, OCA
Communications Manager: (519) 824-0334

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Ontario Cattlemen's Association

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