Farmer’s cattle shipments promising for producers

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Dear Editor:

I think the article in the June 15 issue of the Ponoka News, Fruits of longhorn ranchers’ efforts shipped overseas, about the live cattle going to Germany, is something that all of Alberta’s farmers should say hip hip hooray about.

You may ask what is so important about this, however you would find that prior to the closure of the Canada – US border when an animal was found to have a transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) the European Union closed the border to Canada and American beef as they had implemented testing at slaughter and our beef was not allowed into the countries of that union. They stated that it was reasonable to expect if the same standards of testing were used it was reasonable to expect animals in other countries to have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) as per the natural occurrence in beef populations.

The use of testing at slaughter as control of infections for animals and human consumption in the UK has shown that this has improved herd health to the point of that initially there were millions of animals killed and in 2003 about the time that we were in crisis because testing at slaughter had not been implemented as standards of inspections for the consumption of beef the number of unhealthy herd members had decreased to less than 350. That live animals are being allowed into a EU country is a positive thing for Alberta beef farmers in regard to marketing the issue of shipping live to these countries is spoken to in this article that it has to be economically feasible to do this however that testing at slaughter removes the risks for the herd there is also a factor.

So congratulations to MSW Meats in being accepted into a market that imposed this ban and hopefully all things will get continue to improve for markets of animals from Alberta into countries of the EU. Had Dr. Stanley Prusiner’s work in regard to prions theory been recognized in the scientific community sooner there could have been avoided the loss of life that has been contributed to Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (CJD).

Cathy Corfield