A group of 11 plaintiffs has filed suit in U.S. District Court to stop the USDA from opening the Canadian border to imports of live cattle born after March 1, 1999, and beef products from cattle over 30 months of age.

Plaintiffs include South Dakota cattle producers Herman Schumacher, Robert Mack, Ernie Mertz, Wayne Nelson as well as the organizations of R-CALF, the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association; the Center for Food Safety; the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation; Food & Water Watch; Public Citizen, which has 90,000 members; and, the Consumer Federation of America, with 50 million members.

According to a press release issued by R-CALF, USDA’s over 30 month rule (OTM), which is scheduled to take effect Nov. 19, “creates an unjustified and unnecessary increased risk of infection of the U.S. cattle herd with BSE, and of importing beef contaminated with BSE into the U.S., which will expose U.S. consumers to increased risk of a fatal disease,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.

  “The OTM Rule will expose U.S. cattle producers to severe economic hardship because of the reduced marketability of U.S. beef as a result of commingling domestic product with potentially contaminated beef of Canadian origin,” he continued. “We have export customers who refuse to accept beef from the United States unless it is segregated from Canadian product. R-CALF does not believe opening the Canadian border to older cattle and all beef products will increase our export markets. These all are risks that R-CALF finds unacceptable.”

To view the complaint, visit the “BSE-Litigation” link at www.r-calfusa.com

R-CALF press release