September 25, 2003



Canadian Beef Producers Call For Slaughter Of Cows


More than 600,0000 surplus Canadian cattle might be culled, following suggestions that local producers will highlight to agricultural ministers this Friday.


This mass cull is a drastic but unavoidable measure, say producers from the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, if it can provide relief to Canadian herd and beef markets.


The Canadian beef industry has been sagging because of the mad cow crisis. When the U.S. closed its borders to Canadian beef, thousands of scheduled slaughters were cancelled, creating a surplus of cows on Canadian farms. Producers say slaughtering 620,000 cows will cull the cattle population by 12 per cent and bring numbers back to normal levels.


The cull is part of a four-part plan the farmers have created that they say will get ready cash into their hands faster than government compensation programs.


The program also calls for debt-restructuring loans, cash advances to farmers unable to feed or sell their cattle due to the BSE crisis, and compensation for price deficiencies between normal and actual selling prices.


The culling could be avoided if the federal government would purchase the surplus cattle, say producers, or if new international markets for the beef could be found. Either way, they say, the cattle would have to go.