Letter

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Apr 4, 2005
by WLJ

Bullard doesn’t speak for me!
R-CALF’s hired hand, Bill Bullard, does not speak for me. I am one of those 774,630 independent U.S. cattle producers that is fed up with Bullard implying that he speaks for all U.S. cow-calf producers. Bullard’s recent WLJ article (March 28 issue) underscores a consistent theme of reckless rhetoric that has nothing to do with protecting the safety of U.S. beef and everything to do with frightening U.S. consumers, dismantling northern U.S. packing capacity and trying to maintain an illogical trade barrier at the U.S./Canadian border.
BSE is an animal health issue, not a human health or consumer safety issue here in the U.S. or Canada. Provisions are in place within the beef production system that ensures humans are not at risk. Cattlemen that do not understand that and continue to address BSE in terms of a human health threat need to do their homework or look for another line of work. That’s a harsh statement, but if you don’t understand the measures that are in place from calving to the dinner plate to ensure BSE is not a human health risk then how can the rest of us cattlemen trust you to abide by those measures?
Like it or not, beef is produced and processed in the same manner on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border. Contrary to what Bullard would have you think, Canadian cattlemen are not a bunch of irresponsible idiots. In fact, since their very existence has been threatened as a result of BSE, I can think of no other group of cattlemen in world that would be more aware and conscientious about producing a safe product. If Canadian processed beef and live cattle are unsafe, well I won’t finish the rest of the sentence.
The Canadian government is pouring millions of dollars into new processing plants to replace the capacity Canadian cattlemen can no longer access here in the U.S. R-CALF and Bullard want you to think they are helping U.S. cattle producers by waging war against those dastardly “multi-national meatpackers.”
Wake up cattlemen, R-CALF’s lawsuit has caused the Canadian government to dole out $87 million dollars in a single week to help expand packing capacity. Yes, Mr. Bullard you and R- CALF are really teaching the packers a lesson and helping me out!
Bullard talks about competing in the international market. How far do you think his logic will take us? We don’t allow their product in, but our product must be welcome in their market. R- CALF’s law-suit to prohibit live cattle trade hugely favors packers with plants on both sides of the border. They access cheap Canadian cattle, process them in brand new government financed plants and send that product into the U.S. as boxed beef. Mean while their sister plants on this side of the border reduce cattle buys, slow operations to a crawl or shut down.
That low cost boxed beef coming across competes directly with beef processed by smaller exclusively U.S. based packing plants. Guess who supplies the cattle for those exclusively U.S. based plants that are struggling to stay afloat? You and I do friend!
Sincerely yours,
Dale Lueck
Aitkin, MN


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