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Canada beef producers file lawsuit PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Thursday, 12 August 2004 16:11

PICTURE BUTTE, Alberta -A group of angry Canadian beef producers said
Thursday it has launched a multimillion-dollar suit against the U.S.
government in a bid to force the reopening of the Canada-U.S. border to
live cattle.

SanLouis Obispo.com
Associated Press


PICTURE BUTTE, Alberta -A group of angry Canadian beef producers said
Thursday it has launched a multimillion-dollar suit against the U.S.
government in a bid to force the reopening of the Canada-U.S. border to
live cattle.

The claims, filed under a provision of the North American Free-Trade
Agreement in Washington o­n Thursday, seek damages for investments in
feedlots and farms hurt by the border closure since May 2003. The
closure followed discovery of a lone case of mad cow disease in an
Alberta cow.

The plan is to get other Canadian producers to file similar claims in
order to pressure politicians in Washington to take action, said Rick
Paskal, a feedlot owner and spokesman for the group called Canadian
Cattlemen for Fair Trade.

"We hope to build o­n this claim. We have participants from Alberta to
Quebec right now," Paskal said, noting the first five claims seek a
total of $113 million in damages.

"We hope to get a half-a-billion-dollar suit, maybe a billion-dollar
suit against the United States government. We hope this will open the
border," Paskal said.

Ted Haney, president of the Canada Beef Export Federation, said the
NAFTA claims clearly show producers are fed up waiting for the border
to reopen.

"There is an increasing level of frustration that the border may not
have been closed legitimately, and that the border has not reopened
quick enough," Haney told CBC Newsworld.

"Industry frustration is now clearly directed toward more aggressive
actions."

The effect of the single case of mad cow disease has ravaged Canada's
beef industry and hurt rural communities that depend o­n it. Some
estimates say producers have lost up to $1.5 billion.

Despite U.S. authorities having declared Canadian beef safe, the border
remains closed to live cattle, and a massive backlog of older cattle is
expected to reach crisis proportions this fall.

"The Americans kept telling us that the border closure was a temporary
measure," Paskal said. "We are well into another year and nobody knows
when the border will reopen, if ever. It's time to do something about
this problem before it's too late."

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 August 2004 16:11
 

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