After the decision Canada recently received the Bovine Spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) negligible risk status by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Alex Ruff, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, said that, “This is welcome news coming from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), as Canada has officially been recognized as Negligible Risk for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).”
“After the first case was detected in 2003, international borders were closed for beef exports, and restrictions on the export of Canadian beef have been in place ever since,” added Ruff. “The move from “Controlled Risk to BSE” to “Negligible Risk to BSE” allows further market access for high-quality Canadian beef.”
The OIE’s Scientific Commission requires a country to be cleared of classical BSE for 11 years to retain negligible risk status. The challenge that remains is removing market access restrictions to restore Canada’s beef exports as the industry has dealt with nearly two decades of economic hardship.
“This issue has been at the forefront for beef farmers in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound and a key priority for me since being elected Member of Parliament,” says Ruff. “My first question in the House of Commons was to the Minister of Agriculture regarding Canada’s BSE status. I also submitted two Order Paper Questions on Canada’s BSE status and, specifically, the government’s justification for not applying when Canada was first eligible in 2019. The government submitted its application a year later on July 15, 2020.”
The delay came in a year already made difficult by the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of meat processing capacity in Eastern Canada.
“I have spoken to a number of local Grey-Bruce farmers regarding this announcement and have heard that this is welcome news,” adds Ruff. “They know I will continue to stand up for Canadian beef farmers and will be advocating for the removal of market restrictions to be a top priority.”