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Canadian Leader Warns of Prolongeed Beef Ban

posted on September 10, 2004

Canada's government opposition leader warned this week that protectionist forces in the United States might keep the border closed to Canadian beef exports beyond 2005.

Canadian beef producers are struggling to weather the loss of their biggest market after a single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or Mad Cow disease, was discovered in Alberta in May 2003. Officials estimate the subsequent closure of the U.S. border has cost Canadian producers some $2 billion.

"Given the strength of protectionist forces in the United States and given the ongoing Liberal (government) mismanagement of Canada-U.S. relations, I do not believe we can know if the border will, in fact, reopen," Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper said.

While the U.S. now allows some cuts of beef to cross the border, live cattle exports from Canada remain banned.

Tags: agriculture animals beef Canada diseases food safety livestock Mad Cow meat news trade