Click on text below to see the vid

Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain

Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain
Like Other Countries Do

Sunday, January 25, 2009

R-CALF: Group Urges Vilsack To Immediately Redress 3 Rulemaking Blunders

Washington, D.C. – Today, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack was confirmed to be this nation’s next Agriculture Secretary, and R-CALF USA wasted no time in sending Vilsack a formal letter not only to congratulate him on his confirmation, but also to seek his immediate assistance in redressing three fundamental rulemaking-related blunders made by the previous Administration and the previous U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

R-CALF USA members have literally expended millions of dollars over the past several years to fund our intense, heated fight against the previous Administration’s efforts to: 1) willfully expose U.S. consumers and the U.S. cattle herd to an unnecessary and avoidable risk of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease); 2) prevent U.S. cattle producers from distinguishing beef produced exclusively from their cattle – born, raised and slaughtered in the United States; and, 3) dismantle historically successful disease prevention and control programs and to substitute them with an unproven, intrusive and ill-conceived National Animal Identification System (NAIS) scheme that constitutes a national premises registration for private property, both personal (i.e., livestock) and real (i.e., land).

Specifically, R-CALF USA urged Vilsack to take the following actions within the first few days of President Barack Obama’s Administration:

* Fully rescind the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS’) rulemaking in Docket No. APHIS-2006-0041, commonly known as the over-30-month rule (OTM Rule). The agency’s own risk modeling predicts that the OTM Rule will result in the introduction of between 19 and 105 BSE-infected Canadian cattle, resulting in two to 75 BSE infections of U.S. cattle over the next 20 years. R-CALF USA, the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, five national consumer groups and several individual ranchers won a preliminary injunction in U.S. district court on July 3, 2008, that required the agency to reopen the rulemaking for this docket. The new rulemaking is Docket No. APHIS 2008-0093, and no final agency action is evident in the Federal Register.

* Modify the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS’) final rule for mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL), in Docket No. AMS-LS-07-0081, which is scheduled to take effect March 16, 2009. The final rule defies Congress’ intent to distinguish meat produced from animals exclusively born, raised and slaughtered in the United States with a USA label. Instead, the final rule allows meatpackers to mislabel beef exclusively of U.S. origin with a mixed-origin label (e.g., “Product of the United States, Canada, and Mexico”) if the meatpacker responsible for making an origin declaration commingles any amount of meat derived from imported cattle during the meatpackers’ production day. In addition, the final rule improperly limits commodities subject to labeling requirements if the commodity undergoes minor processing.

* Rescind all actions by APHIS to register the premises of livestock owners under the agency’s proposed NAIS, including the agency’s Veterinary Services Memorandum No. 575.19 dated Dec. 22, 2008, and the agency’s Jan. 13, 2009, proposed rule in Docket No. APHIS 2007-0096. Together, these actions usurp Congress’ authority by effectively mandating NAIS participation, including premises registration, by producers that participate in any number of federal disease programs.

“APHIS is trampling over the rights of U.S. livestock owners and the states in its attempt to compile a national registry of individuals’ premises and their livestock,” wrote R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry, a veterinarian who also chairs the group’s animal health committee. “R-CALF USA looks forward to working with you to improve APHIS’ ability to control disease outbreaks in a manner that is more cost-effective than NAIS and that does not intrude on the rights of independent cattle producers.

“Fundamental changes are needed in the agency you now lead, and R-CALF USA looks forward to working with you to accomplish the goal of re-establishing USDA as an agency that furthers U.S. agriculture by properly balancing the interests of agricultural producers, food consumers, and industry agribusinesses,” Thornsberry said.

“The U.S. cattle industry and U.S. consumers would benefit greatly by the three actions described above,” he added.

“It is our belief that USDA’s severely damaged credibility, which resulted from the agency’s irresponsible pursuits described in each of the forgoing requests, would be substantially restored if these matters were to be expeditiously addressed under your leadership,” Thornsberry concluded. “R-CALF USA has submitted comprehensive comments on each of these issues to the agency. We are available to meet with you and/or your staff at your convenience to further discuss the urgent need for these actions

No comments: