Court Overturns Ban

On Canadian Cattle

BILLINGS, Mont. -- A federal judge overstated the potential harm of allowing limited shipments of Canadian cattle into the United States after mad cow disease was found in Canada, an appeals court panel concluded in documents released Monday.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull erred in issuing a preliminary injunction that stalled a government plan to allow importation of cattle from Canada for the first time in more than two years.

"The record does not support the district court's alarmist findings that the 'irreparable economic harm' the district court foresaw from the stigma of Canadian beef will actually befall the American beef industry," the panel wrote.

The judges had overturned the injunction on July 14 in a brief order that allowed shipments to resume, but they did not release the 54-page opinion outlining their reasons until yesterday.

The United States banned Canadian cattle in May 2003 after Canada's first case of mad cow disease. Since then, authorities have found two cases in Canada and two in the United States. One of the U.S. cows was Canadian-born, the other was in Texas.

The United States was set to lift the ban in March when Cebull granted the injunction to a ranchers' group called R-CALF, United Stockgrowers of America, which argued that trade with Canada would pose a threat to U.S. consumers and cattle producers.

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-- From News Services