NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall said the extension is unfortunate given that cattlemen have been pushing for a comprehensive rule for BSE since the first U.S. case was detected in December 2003. At the same time, Woodall said this is an opportunity for grassroots cattlemen to ensure USDA understands the importance of the rule.

"The message to USDA is simple. We must demonstrate to our global trading partners that we will not only expect them to follow international standards developed by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), but the United States will also abide by these standards," said Woodall. "We cannot demand our trading partners follow OIE standards when we are not here at home. We need this rule to be implemented in order to eliminate trade barriers and to make certain that science is the foundation of all decisions regarding U.S. beef."

As noted in the comments submitted by NCBA, the comprehensive BSE rule will solidify the United States' commitment to basing trade relationships on internationally-recognized, science-based standards. NCBA Vice President and Texas cattleman Bob McCan said maintaining a healthy cattle herd is a top priority for NCBA and USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) should be commended for putting forth a comprehensive BSE rule that allows the United States to meet demand with little, if any, market disruption.


"The U.S. beef industry has worked closely with USDA-APHIS for many years to make sure we have the highest quality controls in place to maintain a healthy cattle population" said McCan. "We must have an objective comprehensive rule in place for beef and cattle imports as soon as possible in order for our nation's trade negotiators to have credibility in opening markets for U.S. beef. Non-tariff trade barriers hinder our ability to expand U.S. beef exports with many of our global trading partners. Cattlemen need our trade negotiators to eliminate these barriers by requiring our global trading partners to make objective, science-based decisions regarding U.S. beef." end_mark