U.S. District Court Judge Richard Cebull, Billings, MT, set a July 27 trial date for the case R-CALF brought against USDA regarding reopening the Canadian border. R-CALF earlier won a preliminary injunction to suspend USDA from reopening the border to live cattle under 30 months of age. The court will hear arguments on whether the injunction should be made permanent.

Meanwhile, the National Meat Association (NMA) filed with the Ninth Circuit its response brief in R-CALF v. USDA. NMA argues there's ample evidence in the record to sustain a finding that USDA's Final Rule on the proposed March 7 Canadian border reopening presented no substantial risk to human health, and the preliminary injunction wasn't warranted.

R-CALF's response filed with the Ninth Circuit shortly thereafter, however, says: “R-CALF USA [has] never argued that there was a great risk to human health from resumed imports of cattle and beef from Canada,” NMA points out.

NMA says it's an amazing admission given that Cebull delayed the reopening on the basis of “an increased risk to human health,” even describing a “genuine risk of death for U.S. consumers” in its decision.

Thus, NMA says, “R-CALF's latter-day admission that there is no great risk to human health from resumed imports of Canadian cattle and beef utterly undermines the basis for the District Court's decision.”

NMA also asks: “If R-CALF has never argued there's a great risk to human health from resumed imports, what was the purpose of the advertisement it took out in the Washington Post, which clearly linked the Canadian BSE situation to U.S. beef safety? Don't they believe their own rhetoric?”