Daily Archives: January 27, 2006

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
for Meatingplace.com

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.

Japan may seek to limit future U.S. beef imports

Japan may seek to limit future U.S. beef imports

by John Gregerson
on 1/27/2006
for Meatingplace.com

Japanese Vice Agriculture Minister Mamoru Ishihara said Thursday that Japan is considering importing U.S. beef only from about 10 facilities Japanese officials have already inspected. Japan dispatched a team of inspectors to 11 facilities in five states — Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Nebraska and California — in December, days after announcing it was easing its import ban on U.S. beef. However, other developments suggest it is unlikely Japan will soon lift the ban on U.S. beef it reimposed last Friday. A U.S. delegation led by Agriculture Undersecretary J.B. Penn discussed the ban with Japanese authorities in Tokyo on Tuesday and Wednesday, but apparently failed to allay concerns about the reliability of the U.S. food safety system, Japanese officials told reporters.U.S. officials emphasized the veal with spinal material shipped from New York to Tokyo last week resulted from human error and was an isolated case. However, the explanation has not satisfied Japanese officials, who note that a U.S. government inspector at the packing plant, one of about 40 facilities certified by the U.S. government as eligible beef suppliers to Japan, was unaware of the violation.”We want them to reconstruct the inspection system from the beginning,” Agriculture Minister Shoichi Nakagawa said, adding that Japan could not resume imports until the Agriculture Department identified the cause of the violation and took measures to prevent a similar incident from occurring.Japanese officials also were annoyed by U.S. remarks that appeared to play down the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. “In fact, probably getting out of your automobile and walking into the store to buy beef, has a higher probability that you’ll be hit by an automobile than … the probability of any harm coming to you from eating beef,” U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary J.B. Penn told reporters.Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Jinen Nagase said U.S. officials should refrain from remarks that sounded like they were not serious about the issue.