Canada returns to the live export trade
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2012:
OTTAWA–-The Middle Eastern live cattle market became more
competitive, and pressuring the global cattle export industry to
shift toward shipping frozen carcasses became more difficult, with
the December 20, 2011 resumption of Canadian participation, after
an eight-year hiatus.
Live cattle exports from Canada to other nations were
suspended in 2003, after the discovery of mad cow disease among
Canadian stock. Nineteen infected Canadian cattle have been
discovered, one as recently as February 2011, but Canadian
agriculture minister Gerry Ritz and trade minister Ed Fast were able
to broker an export deal worth an estimated $40 million per year with
the United Arab Emirates. The deal potentially opens other Middle
Eastern markets to Canada. “The UAE is part of a regional trading
block called the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Bahrain,
Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia,” Ritz and Fast explained.
Although prime minister Stephen Harper did not appear to be directly
involved in arranging the deal, Ritz and Fast put his name first in
headlining the press release that announced it. An outspoken
defender of Atlantic Canadian sealing, Harper has at times made a
point of figuratively thumbing his nose at animal advocates.
“This is disgusting, and for our government to get involved
is wrong,” Ottawa activist Mary Youkles told the Egyptian online
news portal Bikyamasr.com.
“We are sadly aware of and have documented the terrible
conditions in the UAE,” Animals Australia coordinator Glenys Oogjes
told ANIMAL PEOPLE. “I am in contact with Stephanie Brown,” of the
Toronto-based Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals, “and she is keen
to pursue this vigorously and is pleased to have our assistance with
information and footage from the UAE,” Oogjes said.