Sunday, July 10, 2005

Place Yer Bets 

So what are the chances that the border will REALLY reopen?
Personally, I think the odds are maybe 1 out of 3.
First, how likely is it that the 9th circut appeal court will want to be labelled as causing quintessential irreparable harm to Americans by allowing Canadian cattle across the border?
And second, even if the appeal court overturns this injunction, R-CALF isn't going to go away. The documents posted on their website appear to be preparing the ground to argue for a new injunction based on Canada's supposed non-compliance with some new BSE guidelines from the World Organization for Animal Health.
This Washington Post article explains the USDA's official position: Snow Expects U.S. to Allow Canadian Beef: "Both governments agree that enough safeguards are in place to resume trade. U.S. government officials expect to overturn a lower court ruling that has delayed its plans to reopen the U.S.-Canadian border to live Canadian cattle. Snow said the four-month-old court injunction preventing the border from reopening was 'ill considered' and not based on scientific facts."
But even with the recent BSE case in Texas, R-CALF argues to maintain the border closure. Their press release says: “The BSE safeguards already in place here in the U.S. are more stringent than measures any other country has ever implemented prior to having a case of BSE, including Canada,” said McDonnell. “Yet, USDA continues to seek to lower our import standards by writing a Final Rule that would allow cattle and additional beef products into the U.S. from Canada, a country that doesn’t meet the minimum internationally accepted standards for BSE prevention and control.” And R-CALF is lining up a batch of scientists to bolster their case for requiring that Canada meet an impossible standard -- to demonstrate that the future risk of BSE in our cattle is essentially zero -- before our cattle ever be allowed across the border again.
UPDATE -- And indeed, this Globe article reports that in addition to the appeal court hearing next week, R-CALF has schedule another Montana hearing for July 27 with the same Judge Cebull (a 2001 Bush appointee, by the way) who gave the last injunction.
Goodale is quoted in the Globe article as saying “We believe that with the most recent developments in the United States, the rationale behind the judgment of Judge Cebull has absolutely evaporated — there is no justification for that position.” That's gonna piss him off real good!
And the Conservative Party has been granted amicus standing and will submit a brief to this hearing, though the Canadian government was apparently refused intervenor status by Cebull. Do a good job, guys!

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