R-CALF meeting: Resolutions await vote

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Jan 31, 2005
by WLJ
— Policy moves come official in early March.
Members of R-CALF USA in attendance at the group’s annual convention in Denver tentatively passed several resolutions focused on preventing BSE infection of the U.S. cow herd and food supply. There was also policy proposed on international trade.
Policy will be made official upon all members of the group having an opportunity to vote via mail ballot on the various resolutions. Under R-CALF’s rules, members not attending the annual convention have 45 days from the time policy is crafted to vote.
The most prominent resolution passed by convention attendees was one demanding USDA immediately withdraw its interim rule declaring Canada a “minimal risk” country for BSE. The resolution went on to say USDA should revert back to a 1989 standard preventing all cattle from countries where BSE is known to exist from entering the country.
A resolution also passed the floor demanding 100 percent of imported cattle and beef be required to meet all sanitary and phyto-sanitary rules, under international guidelines.
From the area of international trade, the group tentatively passed a resolution asking Congress to remove the U.S. from membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) this year. A reauthorization vote for WTO membership is scheduled later this year. Proponents of that policy said the WTO undermines individual countries sovereignty by mandating trade policies.
Members also passed a resolution supporting a U.S. Food and Drug Administration ban on animal protein in all livestock feeds in order to avoid any cross-contamination and prevent the potential spread of BSE.
A resolution was also passed asking USDA to allow voluntary testing for BSE at USDA-approved facilities. Proponent cited support of Creekstone Farms and several other smaller beef processors that have expressed interest in testing all of the animals they slaughter in order to gain access to export markets, particularly Japan.
R-CALF USA members also showed their continuing distrust in mandatory animal identification, by passing policy supporting existing identification methods, specifically branding and dangle ear tags. Several R-CALF members said there would be a lot more extra expense added to the industry by new identification regulations and that there were a lot of possible liability issues looming.
Several officials with the group didn’t anticipate a lot of negative votes on any of the policies drafted during the convention because they were brought up by members after extensive discussion with many other members of the organization.