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Drawing Lines and Choosing Words



















Angus Productions Inc.
Copyright © 2009
Angus Productions Inc.

Drawing Lines and Choosing Words

Cattle Health and Well-being Committee addresses boundries for disease status designations and policy regarding non-ambulatory cattle.

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Jan. 30, 2009) — Healthy discussion and ample participation marked the Cattle Health and Well-being Committee meeting at the 2009 Cattle Industry Annual Convention.


Shannon Jordre from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine Division of Compliance gave an update on the new Cattle Material Prohibited from Animal Feed (CMPAF) rule released in 2008. The rule defines prohibited materials as brains and spinal cords of cattle 30 months of age and older, as well as dead cattle in that same age group with their brain and spinal cord intact. Animals with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) were also specifically listed as prohibited for the first time.


Audience members expressed concern that renderers may no longer pick up dead cattle older than 30 months of age because of the ruling. Additionally, some landfills have already commented that they won’t accept carcasses, while others will only admit them for a large fee. Many indicated they supported pressing the FDA to re-open a comment period on the item.


Thomas Myers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) presented an update on bovine tuberculosis (TB) and brucellosis programs, international trade and veterinary services in 2015. Attendees expressed concerns about disease statuses being based on states instead of more geographically accurate areas drawn based on location of affected herds.


Highlights of the policy portion of the meeting involved amending the tuberculosis eradication interim policy created this summer to include language promoting a streamlined structure for identifying an area’s TB status based on zoning and risk areas instead of state lines.


A resolution from California recommending a zero tolerance policy for the processing, transportation or consumption of non-ambulatory cattle failed. Some committee members expressed concern that the language indicated cattle that slip on ice and break a leg wouldn’t be able to enter the food supply. Producers also took issue with language that seemed to prohibit their personal consumption of non-ambulatory cattle instead of just keeping those cattle from entering the commercial food supply. Issues about not being able to transport injured cattle to the veterinarian’s office were discussed.

Wording of the existing “Non-ambulatory Cattle Not to Be Used in the Commercial Food Supply” policy was amended to reflect some of these concerns as well as issues with the previous wording being unnecessarily negative. The word slaughter was replaced with harvest, and cattle are described as non-ambulatory instead of disabled or downer.


After much discussion and massaging of the language, the policy CH 8.18 as it came out of committer to be proposed at the annual membership meeting read:


WHEREAS cattle do at times become non-ambulatory.
WHEREAS cattle producers are committed to ensuring that all cattle are treated humanely.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, NCBA supports policies to prohibit the transport and harvest of cattle for the commercial food supply.

Editor’s Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API), which claims copyright to this article. It may not be published or distributed without the express permission of Angus Productions Inc. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at (816) 383-5270.