Monthly Archives: January 2006

Can the Latest Japanese Beef Ban Strengthen Trade?

Can the Latest Japanese Beef Ban Strengthen Trade?

KFAB-TV, Lincoln, NE

The latest ban by Japan on U-S- beef imports could ultimately strengthen trade, according to Nebraska officials.
Nebraska Cattlemen President Pete McClymont says the fear that progress made with Japan has been lost did come with Friday’s announcement. However, he believes the incident could strengthen trade because it brought attention to a weak spot. Japan halted imports of American beef because a recent shipment contained spinal material prohibited under agreement with the U-S-. The country had only reopened its borders to American beef nearly six weeks ago following a two-year ban prompted by mad cow concerns.

SD Certified Beef Program Helping Ranchers

SD Certified Beef Program Helping Ranchers

Governor Mike Rounds is frustrated Japan closed its borders to U.S. Beef again, especially since South Dakota’s certified beef program is gaining popularity. However, cattle producers say the program is still a big help with sales.

Marjean Warren is regular at venues like the Black Hills Stock Show when it comes to marketing her cattle. But something helping with sales this year is the new South Dakota Certified Beef program.

Warren said, “We only signed up 50 this year. We’re hoping to sign up all of our steers next year and possibly a few of the heifers we don’t want to retain.”

The program demands the highest quality in beef and has gained popularity among cattle producers and buyers.

Warren said, “Last week or the week before that we got a letter in the mail telling us that South Dakota Certified Beef was approved to go to Japan.”

But as soon as she got the news, Japan closed its borders to U.S. beef again because a shipment was at risk for mad cow disease.

South Dakota Governor Michael Rounds said, “And the reason why it’s frustrating is because you have South Dakota Certified Beef which right now meets the requirement for shipment overseas, so for us that meant it was a brand new market that was available for our producers.”

Now the program will have to be even more aggressive with sales in the United States, which is a crowded market already.

Rounds said, “We have to do more of our advertising and we do advertise South Dakota certified beef. It means more of it will be consumed in the United States.”

Despite the set back with Japan, producers still stand behind the state’s certified beef program.

Warren said, “The Japanese basically want our beef, so I think it will pass and it will take time.”

Just to give you an idea of how successful the program has been, so far, 110 cattle producers in the state have signed up 10,000 animals in the South Dakota Certified Beef Program.

Andy Harvey
© 2006 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.

Vast majority of Japanese back US beef ban

Vast majority of Japanese back US beef ban

Netscape News

TOKYO (AFP) – An overwhelming majority of Japanese support the decision to ban US beef imports for violating a food safety agreement and most want tighter restrictions if imports resume, a new poll revealed.

Some 87 percent backed the new ban, which was imposed only a month after US beef was allowed to return to the market, against eight percent who opposed it, said the Asahi Shimbun poll of 1,915 Japanese adults. However, people were sharply divided over the original decision to lift the embargo, with 48 percent believing it was too early against 45 percent who thought it was appropriate. Under intense pressure from its closest ally, Japan, formerly the top overseas market for US beef, in December resumed imports, which were suspended in 2003 after a mad-cow case was discovered in a herd in Washington state.
On January 20, however, Japan found that a US shipment that arrived near Tokyo contained spinal columns, which are forbidden as a precaution against mad-cow disease, and imposed a new ban.
Some 57 percent want the government to impose tougher conditions if resuming US beef imports against 33 percent who are satisfied with the current rules, the poll said.
Only three percent of people polled said Japan should ease the conditions — that slaughtered cattle be no more than 20 months old and risky body parts be removed.
The Asahi conducted the telephone poll over the weekend, before a new controversy over beef imports emerged in parliament.
The opposition called Monday on farm minister Shoichi Nakagawa to resign after he admitted he never sent teams to the United States to inspect beef as he promised.
01/31/2006 03:25

US meat group seeks to keep Canada border open

US meat group seeks to keep Canada border open

Mon Jan 30, 6:24 PM ET

A U.S. meat industry group said on Monday it had filed court papers backing the U.S. Agriculture Department’s decision to allow cattle and beef imports from Canada, despite attempts by ranchers group R-CALF USA to reclose the border.
The American Meat Institute submitted a brief in a Montana district court urging the continuation of cattle and beef trade with Canada. The friend-of-the-court brief said “none of R-CALF’s dire predictions about reopening the border have come true.”
R-CALF argues that live Canadian cattle pose a risk of mad cow disease to the U.S. cattle herd and should be banned. The U.S. Agriculture Department maintains that Canada has safeguards in place to prevent the spread of the deadly disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
The U.S. government imposed a ban on cattle shipments after Canada found its first domestic case of mad cow disease in May 2003. It planned to reopen the border in March 2005 to imports of Canadian cattle under 30 months of age, but ranchers group R-CALF obtained a temporary injunction from a court in Montana.
The U.S. Agriculture Department appealed to the federal appeals court in San Francisco, which rejected R-CALF’s arguments in July and reopened the U.S. border to shipments of young Canadian cattle.
The same appeals court has refused to rehear the case but Montana District Judge Richard Cebull, who issued the preliminary injunction keeping the border closed, has yet to decide whether to hold additional hearings.
R-CALF submitted a motion earlier in January asking for oral arguments in the case to be heard.
AMI was joined in its filing by the National Meat Association, North American Meat Processors, Southwest Meat Association and the Eastern Meat Packers Association.
AMI said its brief argued that the rule opening the Canadian border was working well, and that the arguments that restoration of beef trade with Canada would “undercut consumer confidence in U.S. beef and that the influx of Canadian cattle would adversely affect domestic cattle prices are not borne out by USDA economic data.”
“A fringe group is attempting to slam shut the border with our largest trading partner by using alarmist rhetoric about food safety and consumer confidence when they know that Canadian beef is every bit as safe as the beef raised in this country,” said J. Patrick Boyle, President and CEO of the American Meat Institute.

Scientists Spot Mad Cow Protein’s ‘Good Side’

Scientists Spot Mad Cow Protein’s ‘Good Side’

Mon Jan 30, 11:47 PM ET

MONDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) — The same protein that causes mad cow disease and its human equivalent also plays an important role in helping certain kinds of adult stem cells maintain themselves, a new study finds.

“For years, we’ve wondered why evolution has preserved this protein, what positive role it could possibly be playing. With these findings, we have our first answer,” study co-author Susan Lindquist of the Whitehead Institute, of Cambridge, Mass., said in a prepared statement.

PrP (prion protein) can be found throughout healthy human bodies. It’s especially abundant in the brain. It’s common in many kinds of mammals, but only rarely does it cause disease.

In research with mice, the Whitehead researchers found that PrP is critical to the ability of blood-generating stem cells to generate new cells. They published the finding in this week’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Clearly, PrP is important for maintaining stem cells. We’re not sure yet how it does this, but the correlation is obvious,” study co-author Harvey Lodish said in a prepared statement.

“PrP is a real black box,” Lindquist noted. “This is the first clear indication we have of a beneficial role for it in a living animal. Now we need to discover its molecular mechanism.”

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about prion diseases.

Tons of U.S. Beef Piled Up in Japan

Tons of U.S. Beef Piled Up in Japan

By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Writer

More than 2,000 tons of U.S. beef has piled up at Japanese customs warehouses after this month’s renewed import ban, an industry official said Tuesday.

Tokyo eased its ban on U.S. beef imports on Dec. 12, but halted imports again this month after a beef shipment arrived in Japan containing banned spinal bones, which considers to be at risk for mad cow disease.

Some 1,380 tons of beef products imported from the United States have been held up at Japanese ports since Jan. 20, when Tokyo halted the imports for the second time, or are currently in shipment, according to Tatsuo Iwama, executive director of Japan Meat Traders Association.

By adding those imported by companies outside the association’s 17 U.S. beef importers, the amount of stranded beef products could reach as much as 2,300 tons, Iwama added.
Beef and shipping costs for the importers were as much as 2 billion yen, or $17 million, he said.
Most of the intended U.S. beef imports were high quality chilled beef, with the consumption date expiring within two months, Iwama said.

The association plans to ask the government’s help to arrange a deal so they can have the U.S. exporters take them back and cover the entire cost, he said.
“The problem was caused by the U.S. side, so we would like the party with primary responsibility to take care of the cost,” Iwama said. “It’s so unfortunate that we’re going through the trouble immediately after the import resumed.”

According to Japanese customs inspector Koichi Tsunokami, goods subject to import suspension are usually returned to senders, sent to a third country or disposed of, because keeping unwanted goods only costs importers storage fees.

“The U.S. beef products cannot go through customs and there will be no quarantine for them,” Tsunokami said. “They will have to be returned to senders, sent to a third country or disposed here.”

When Japan banned American beef products in December 2003, most Japanese importers sent them back to exporters, he added. Many others burned them at their own expense.

According to a poll released by the Asahi newspaper Tuesday, 62 percent of the Japanese said they don’t want to eat American beef when it returns to Japanese stores, compared to 30 percent who said they would try it. The Asahi, which surveyed 1,915 adults through telephone interviews over the weekend, gave no margin of error.

The U.S. beef products issue on Monday also brought chaos to the Diet, or parliament, as Agricultural Minister Shoichi Nakagawa admitted Tokyo failed to inspect U.S. cattle facilities before easing the ban, inviting a flurry of criticism and prompting opposition lawmakers to walk out of a session.

The Food Safety Commission approved lifting the previous ban on conditions that imports be limited to meat from cows aged 20 months or less and that parts of cattle thought to be at particularly high risk of containing mad cow disease be removed.

Beef results torpedo Tyson profits

Beef results torpedo Tyson profits

by Pete Hisey
on 1/31/2006 for

Tyson Foods missed Wall Street profit projections by a substantial amount in the first quarter ended Dec. 31, in large part because of “ugly” results in its beef business.The company earned 11 cents per share in the quarter, down from 14 cents a year ago, and far below the 16 cents predicted by Wall Street analysts. Its stock immediately dove nearly 8 percent on the news, down $1.20 to $14.17 early Monday.Sales for the quarter were flat at $6.5 billion, while net profits sank to $39 million from $48 million a year ago. According to John Tyson, chief executive, results in chicken and prepared foods improved from a year ago, but “pork struggled and beef further deteriorated, producing significant operating losses. Recent declines in international demand for chicken coupled with greater than expected domestic supply will dramatically impact the projected performance of our chicken segment, [and] lower than projected cattle supplies, along with unanticipated interruptions in export market access, will slow the recovery we expected for beef later in the year.” Beef produced a loss of $64 million in operating income, compared to a loss of $16 million a year ago. That more than offset a gain in operating income in the chicken segment, to $123 million from $104 million. Pork showed a decline in operating income, to $11 million from $14 million, while prepared foods, despite a drop in gross sales, doubled its operating income to $24 million from $12 million.

Corralling Fescue Foot

Corralling Fescue Foot

Especially during the cold months, Eldon Cole, a University of Missouri livestock specialist, advises watching cattle closely for signs of Fescue Foot. Untreated, the painful condition can result in frost bite, or even hooves sloughing off. Folks familiar with grazing endophyte-infected fescue know this is the result of poor blood circulation that stems from ingesting fescue that has produced large amounts of ergot-like toxins. “The most effective thing to do when you notice the limping on the rear legs is remove the cattle from the fescue pasture. Even putting them on another fescue field that may have lower toxin levels can help,” Cole explains. In more severe cases, he says moving the affected cattle to dry-lot and feeding them legume hay and grain can help. According to Cole, “Antibiotic treatments are of little value other than preventing infections that could arise. So far, there are no magic formulas to correct the problem. Toxin levels in the fescue tend to decline into the winter.” For more details about managing fescue, go to: and click on “Tall Fescue Toxicosis.” You can also go to and enter “fescue toxicosis” into the “Search for” box on the opening page. The Web site is a BEEF magazine resource site with links to more than 2,000 articles and fact sheets on cow-calf production and management issues. In addition, don’t forget to visit, a cooperative site between BEEF and Kansas State University devoted exclusively to news, information and research for the U.S. beef stocker segment.

USDA To Build "Metadata" Portal For NAIS

USDA To Build “Metadata” Portal For NAIS

From Beef Cow-Calf Weekly

Last August, USDA announced animal movement-tracking data for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) would be collected and held in an industry-designed database. This week, citing input from an Oct. 16 stakeholder meeting, Deputy Administrator John Clifford proposed a USDA-developed and maintained “metadata” repository. Clifford says the component would allow USDA to work with multiple databases collecting info on animal movement. In very basic terms, metadata is an info-technology solution that stores data about data. This “single portal” option could provide an effective means for USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to send queries for animal movement records only to those databases that have information on a subject animal or animals, he said. “This enhances the efficiency of any potential animal disease investigation. Additionally, it would provide a single format, as well as technology standard requirements, helping APHIS interface or communicate with the participating database systems. We will thoroughly evaluate the metadata technology solution prior to any actual development,” he said. As the NAIS project proceeds in finalizing and developing the system requirements, Clifford says USDA will begin evaluating the animal movement-tracking databases of organizations wanting to participate. He says the process will involve confirming that:

  1. The defined data elements are compliant with NAIS standards,
  2. Technology architecture meets the technical requirements and
  3. The proposed databases submitted for review meet the other USDA-specified criteria.

“Then, if all is in order, we would initiate a formal agreement (rather than a single memorandum of understanding) with each entity responsible for the databases,” he says. The agreement would also detail access rights and the safeguards for preserving data if the organization ceases operation. For more on NAIS visit — Joe Roybal

Advanced screening system for BVD introduced

Advanced screening system for BVD introduced
Jan. 30, 2006

Animal Profiling International (API), a technology company dedicated to the improvement of animal health management, today announced a novel-screening tool to detect cattle persistently infected (PI) with Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV). Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) screening technology offers producers an extremely accurate, yet cost-effective method to clear BVD PI animals from their herds in an effort to reduce the estimated two billion dollars in annual losses suffered by the cattle industry due to BVD in both 2004 and 2005. BVD PI animals are difficult to recognize due to the fact that they rarely show visible symptoms. Approximately 10% of beef cow herds have at least one PI animal that anonymously infects others by spreading the virus in the herd. Studies show that the additional expense incurred once this virus in introduced into a herd runs as high as $56 per head. API’s unique PCR screening allows large pools of samples to be screened at a significantly reduced price to current standard testing methodologies. “The tragedy of this disease is that it costs the industry billions of dollars even though excellent vaccines are available,” stated Bruce Hoffman, DVM and president of API. “A persistently infected animal can shed up to 10 million virus particles a day over its lifespan, achieving infection rates that literally overpower other animals’ immune systems. Our screening method provides a low-cost approach to locate and remove the persistently infected carriers and enhance herd health and performance.” API’s dedicated laboratory provides clients with next-business-day results. The expedited service provides management with the information necessary for quick decision-making in order to protect their herd. “The extraordinary sensitivity and specificity of our assay methodology provides remarkably high levels of accuracy, giving our clients the comfort they need in order to make difficult treatment decisions in a timely manner,” said Gary Rosenberg, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of API. “Using the PCR screen allows us to continue our goal of providing management over medicine approaches to the cattle industry.” Ray Rogers, chairman of API, adds, “There are current initiatives by the National Cattlemen Beef Association, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, The Academy of Veterinary Consultants, plus state livestock associations to develop effective control programs for BVDV. We’re glad to support these efforts by providing our PCR screening method to help aid the success of these programs.” For more information on Bovine Viral Diarrhea and the tests API provides, visit

Source: Animal Profiling International

Food safety boss demands stricter inspection of U.S. beef

Food safety boss demands stricter inspection of U.S. beef

MSN News

The head of Japan’s beef safety panel said Tokyo should only import U.S. beef from slaughterhouses inspected by the Japanese government after it lifts a ban on American meat, according to a news report.The comments by Yasuhiro Yoshikawa, head of the Food Safety Commission’s panel on beef safety, came nine days after Tokyo reinstated a ban on U.S. beef imports after a shipment was found to contain banned parts at risk of mad cow disease.”I didn’t expect the latest incident to happen as I had believed the Japanese government would conduct inspections and make sure (the import conditions were met) before the actual importing,” Kyodo News agency quoted Yoshikawa as saying Saturday.Yoshikawa also recommended separate processing lines for beef destined for the Japanese market due to different rules in the U.S. and Japan regarding what cattle parts are acceptable, Kyodo said.Food Safety Commission officials were unavailable for comment Sunday.Japan’s latest ban on U.S. beef imports came just weeks after inspectors found banned spine bones, which can carry mad cow disease, in a shipment of U.S. veal.The Food Safety Commission late last year approved lifting the previous ban, which was imposed in 2003 following the discovery of the first case of mad cow disease in the U.S.Japanese officials have criticized the American inspection system and refused to reopen the country’s lucrative market until the mishap is fully investigated and Washington comes up with sufficient countermeasures.On Thursday, Vice Agriculture Minister Mamoru Ishihara said Japan was considering limiting U.S. beef imports to about 10 facilities that Japanese officials had inspected.U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns pledged Saturday to conduct a “no-holds” barred investigation into how prohibited cuts of meat were sent to Japan.Mad cow disease — whose medical name is bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE — is a brain-wasting disease in cattle.In people, eating meat or cattle products contaminated with BSE is linked to a rare, fatal human disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. (AP)January 29, 2006

Canadian officials trace 67 herdmates of BSE cow

Canadian officials trace 67 herdmates of BSE cow

KTIC Radio

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Jan 27 (Reuters) – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said on Friday it has traced 67 herdmates of an Alberta cow that tested positive for mad cow disease as it investigates Canada’s latest case of the deadly brain-wasting condition.

“At this point I’ve had no indication that any cohorts have been exported … The record trace will indicate that,” Darcy Undseth, a veterinary specialist with the CFIA, said of the cows, which were born on the same farm as the diseased animal.

The on-going investigation was spurred after the CFIA confirmed Canada’s fourth home-grown case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as BSE or mad cow disease, on a western Canadian farm earlier this week.


Official apologizes for not fully inspecting U.S. beef plants

Official apologizes for not fully inspecting U.S. beef plants

Associated Press Writer

For The Grand Island Independent

TOKYO — Japan should have inspected U.S. cattle facilities more thoroughly before easing a ban on American beef last month, the agriculture minister said Monday.
Japan has again halted U.S. beef imports after finding banned spinal bones in one shipment this month. Japan considers such bones to be at risk for mad cow disease, the concern behind the initial ban.
Officials have criticized the American inspection system and refused to reopen the country’s lucrative market until the latest mishap is fully investigated and Washington comes up with sufficient countermeasures.
Agriculture Minister Shoichi Nakagawa admitted that inspections were conducted at only 11 of about 50 U.S. facilities that were supposed to be inspected under a Cabinet requirement for resuming imports of American beef.
“I apologize for not fulfilling the requirement to conduct inspections,” Agriculture Minister Shoichi Nakagawa told a parliament committee. “I will think about how to take responsibility for that.”
The ban was first imposed in 2003 following the discovery of the first case of mad cow disease in the United States. Japan eased the ban on Dec. 12 on the recommendation of its Food Safety Commission.
Mad cow disease — whose medical name is bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE — is a brain-wasting disease in cattle.
In people, eating meat or cattle products contaminated with BSE is linked to a rare, fatal human disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Canadian beef, cattle exports likely unaffected by recent BSE discovery

Canadian beef, cattle exports likely unaffected by recent BSE discovery

by John Gregerson
on 1/30/2006

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it does not believe Canadian cattle exports will be affected by the discovery of a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Alberta last week. “Based on the guidelines and certification recommendations of the World Organization for Animal Health, this finding should not affect Canada’s ability to export live animals, beef and beef products,” CFIA indicated in a news release. CFIA officials were meeting Japanese officials last week to explain the situation, according to news accounts. Thus far, only South Korea has dropped discussions with Canada regarding imports of Canadian beef. Canadian beef has been banned in South Korea since 2003.

Japan Ag Minister: Imports of U.S. beef likely to resume

Japan Ag Minister: Imports of U.S. beef likely to resume

by John Gregerson
on 1/30/2006 for

Though he didn’t specify a time table, Japanese Agriculture Minister Shoichi Nakagawa said Friday that Japan is likely to resume import of U.S. beef once problems concerning a Tokyo-bound shipment of U.S. beef containing spinal parts are satisfactorily resolved. Speaking on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Nakagawa said that while there was no possibility of an immediate solution, trade most likely would resume at an unspecified date.”It is unfortunate there has been the development that we have had to interrupt the trade of beef with the United States,” Nakagawa told reporters. “But once the problem is resolved, probably we are going to resume the trade.”

Mad-cow isn’t a trade issue

Mad-cow isn’t a trade issue
It’s first and foremost a food-safety issue

Friday, January 27, 2006 Posted at 2:02 AM EST
Special to Toronto Globe and Mail Update

It’s true that Canadian beef is safe – but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the beef industry are missing the point.
The latest Canadian BSE case coming out of Alberta was considered by industry pundits to be unwelcome but not unexpected. This is the fourth native case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, known as mad-cow disease, in Canada since May of 2003 (excluding the one case that was discovered in the state of Washington in December of 2003, which American authorities traced back to Canada a few weeks later). Meanwhile, Japan has confirmed its 22nd case, in a five-year-old cow that died of BSE.

Ag Dept. to change animal classification

Ag Dept. to change animal classification

By Michelle Dunlop
Times-News writer
BOISE — Dairy cows rejoice!

Animals can be animals once again.

On Thursday, a state official asked the House Agricultural Affairs Committee to strike the baffling term “animal unit” when referring to dairy cows, beef cattle, swine and others confined to large dairies and feedlots. The change should eliminate some confusion when it comes to determining the number of animals that a concentrated animal feeding operation — or CAFO — can have.

John Chatburn with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture told committee members that the agency wanted to update the state code to align with that of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The reason the EPA went away from it is that it was confusing,” Chatburn said.

The phrase “animal unit” was linked to a scale assigning animals a different unit value based on size and species. For instance, a mature dairy cow received a value of 1.4 units while a pig over 25 kilograms got a score of 0.4 units. The proposed legislation wouldn’t amend the overall level of animal allowed on a dairy or feedlot.

Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, thought the adjustment might make it easier for county officials to discuss the permitting of CAFOs in their counties. Commissioners can ask the state to send a CAFO siting team to determine if a proposed dairy or feedlot is well-suited for its selected location. This legislation would apply to the siting process.

Last year, commissioners in Gooding County enacted a moratorium on CAFOs, saying they needed to get an accurate count of animals in their area. The commissioners have since revised their CAFO ordinance, but it has yet to be adopted. The Idaho Association of Counties supports the change in terminology, Chatburn said.

The committee agreed to print Chatburn’s legislation, which will still need to be passed by the Legislature.

From animal units to animals

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has asked the Legislature to approve a change that eliminates the term “animal units” when defining how many animals make up a concentrated animal feeding operation. If approved, the state would classify CAFOs as any operation that has the following animals:

* 700 mature dairy cows

* 1,000 veal calves

* 1,000 cattle

* 2,500 swine weighing 55 pounds or more

* 10,000 swine weighing less than 55 pounds

* 500 horses

* 10,000 sheep or lambs

* 82,000 chickens

Mad-cow tests come back negative

Mad-cow tests come back negative
Friday, January 27, 2006
Canadian Press
(image placeholder)
EDMONTON — Tests on 25 cattle from an Alberta farm where the latest case of mad-cow disease was found are negative, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says.
The test group included 24 cattle born on the farm 12 months before or after the infected animal and a recently born calf.
The CFIA said it is continuing to trace the whereabouts of other animals of interest.
On Monday, the CFIA said bovine spongiform encephalopathy was found in a cow in north-central Alberta that was born after a ban was imposed in 1997 on giving cattle feed made from other animals.

EU animal welfare label for food underway

EU animal welfare label for food underway
In Short:
The Commission has published an action plan on protection and welfare of animals. The proposed EU animal welfare label for food is expected to help consumers make informed choices.

The Commission has adopted an animal welfare action plan to clarify existing EU legislation on animal welfare and to ensure that related EU policy fields (agriculture, research..) take full account of this aspect. Among the initiatives of the action plan, published in January 2006, is an ‘EU animal welfare label’ for better promotion of products, such as chicken, which are produced respecting animal welfare requirements.
According to a recent Eurobarometer on consumers’ attitudes towards the welfare of farmed animals, 43% of citizens do consider animal welfare when buying meat. However, there are sharp differences between the EU-25, new member states being less attentive on the issue while Scandinavian and Germanic countries are more so.
Surprisingly, 75% of all EU citizens believe they can influence the animal welfare through what they choose to buy but the survey states that they have a hard time understanding what animal welfare friendly production systems mean. So labelling products is considered as a good way to help the consumer make informed choices.

Former beef plant operator pleads guility in federal probe

Former beef plant operator pleads guility in federal probe

by John Gregerson
on 1/27/2006

Canadian Cattleman’s Association
Former beef plant operator Richard Hall Jr. has pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and money laundering related to the failure of the state-backed processing facility in north Mississippi, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee said Hall entered the plea Wednesday in federal court in Oxford. He said the plea agreement calls for an eight-year prison term.

Hall also pleaded guilty to three state counts of mail fraud in Yalobusha County Circuit Court, said District Attorney John Champion. Champion said prosecutors have agreed to another eight-year sentence on the state charges.

No date has been set for sentencing.

The $43.5 million processing plant opened in August 2004 with 400 workers but closed three months later because of equipment failure. Citing inadequate cash flow, former owner Hall defaulted on a $35 million state-guaranteed loan.