Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz’s claim that the recent discovery or of another Alberta cow with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or mad cows’ disease) would not affect exports has crumbled.
In fact there are now five countries that have banned Canadian beef, starting with South Korea and most recently adding Taiwan. Belarus and Peru have also banned Canadian beef and Indonesia has placed temporary restrictions on some forms of beef.
Ritz tried to dismiss the severity of the situation by saying those countries account for three per cent of Canadian beef exports.
But is that on an annual basis and before South Korea lifted its earlier ban on Canadian beef, or on a monthly basis for the most recent two or three months?
And are these not the most lucrative export markets, more valuable per kilogram than hamburger and offals exported to the U.S. and Europe?
And how did a cow that was born in 2009 contract BSE via feed, as the CFIA has said about the probably source?
Was the CFIA lax in enforcing a ban on incorporating rendered remains of BSE-infected cattle in cattle rations?
And if the CFIA is partly to blame, can it be held liable for compensation for the loss of export markets?