DOJ: News Release

McGrath: FDA Announcement Supports State’s Position

HELENA – Attorney General Mike McGrath said Tuesday that an announcement that the Food and Drug Administration will be changing animal-feed regulations as a defense against the spread of mad cow disease supports the state’s position that the importation of Canadian cattle into this country should be put on hold.

In remarks to a food policy conference Monday, FDA Commissioner Lester M. Crawford said the U.S. would change regulations about the composition of animal feed to mirror those in Canada. Canada has proposed regulations banning certain tissues – brains, spinal cords and other parts that may carry so-called mad cow disease – from feed for all animals. The guidelines are not yet in effect.

Friday McGrath’s office, joined by five other attorneys general, lodged a friend-of-the-court brief in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, supporting a petition for rehearing by the Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF).

“The FDA seeks stronger regulations to stop the spread of a crippling disease while the USDA seeks less regulation,” McGrath said. “The irony exemplifies why this is a matter for a court to decide. It’s a question that should have its day in court.”

Friday’s submission is the latest chapter in ongoing litigation that seeks to close the U.S. border to Canadian cattle until R-CALF’s pending lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture is resolved. R-CALF originally sued the USDA in January, maintaining that importation of Canadian cattle into this country posed an “unjustified and unnecessary increased risk of infection of the U.S. cattle herd” with mad-cow disease.

In March, a U.S. District Court issued a preliminary injunction that delayed the importation of Canadian cattle into this country. On July 14, a three-judge panel for the 9th Circuit issued an order reversing the preliminary injunction. Canadian cattle began coming into the U.S. on July 18.

The brief advocates a rehearing and suggests a rehearing by the full court.

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