Officials in Canada confirm this week they found a third case of Mad Cow, or BSE in an animal in that country. Even before the discovery, a cattle producers’ group this week filed a lawsuit challenging plans to re-open the U.S. border to importation of cattle from Canada. Bill Bullard is C-E-O of R-CALF U.S.A., the Ranchers – Cattlemen Action Legal Fund of the United Stockgrowers of America. He says the group’s opposition is to the decision to relax health and safety standards that so far protect the industry against bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Mad Cow Disease, since it was first discovered in 1986. Part of the rules for resuming imports are that beef from any animal could be imported from Canada but only live animals that are younger than 30 months…an age at which Mad Cow has not yet appeared. The USDA’s final rule to allow animals younger than 30 months of age to be imported from Canada as well as meat from other animals, in the group’s opinion makes up a high risk to the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF, formed in 1999, represents the interests of live cattle producers in the beef supply chain. Bullard says while most Canadian cattle may be safe, the U.S. beef industry needs to resume its own exports to many other countries that threw up barriers after the discovery of one case of Mad Cow in this country a little over a year ago. To get them to re-open those markets, Bullard says this country has to keep our supply free from suspicion of any BSE contamination. To restore those markets, he says we must restore confidence in our export coustomers — and to do that, must prove we’re serious about preventing the introduction of BSE into the U.S. and will help other countries eradicate the disease so it no longer poses a threat. Bullard says USDA should also have made allowance for U.S. producers willing to do extensive testing to prove beef sold here is safe. Our export customers have said they’d buy our beef if we’ll test it. Bullard says the USDA’s refused to allow private companies to do their own testing, and says it’s harmed the industry by refusing to meet the request of would-be customers. Under World Health Organization guidelines, Canada could find as many as 11 animals with Mad Cow and still be classifieda minimal-risk region for the disease. Among members of the R-CALF lobbying group are the Iowa Livestock Marketing Association and the Pocahontas County Cattlemens Association. See the group’s information at