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Lack of Slaughter Capacity Leaves Saskatchewan Especially Vulnerable to Mandatory COOL

by 5m Editor
16 August 2007, at 11:38am

CANADA - The Saskatchewan Pork Development Board fears a lack of domestic slaughter capacity will leave hog producers in that province particularly vulnerable to any effects of proposed mandatory U.S. Country of Origin Labelling Legislation, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling provisions contained in the version of the 2007 U.S. farm bill passed by Congress must still pass through several steps before becoming law but some form of the legislation is expected to take effect in September 2008.

Western Canadian hog producers ship about four million isoweans or weaners and another approximately 1.5 million slaughter hogs south per year.

Sask Pork general manager Neil Ketilson says, because of the lack of hook space in Saskatchewan, a border disruption for any reason would have very negative implications for the province.

Neil Ketilson-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board

There's a number of producers here that ship live hogs into the United States for slaughtering and so our immediate concern is that COOL would have implications to the slaughter plants in the U.S. that would make them probably drop the price or not even want to handle those hogs simply because they have to label them differently and handle them differently than they would United States hogs.

Anytime you add complexity to the slaughter process in terms of really making two identical hogs different, one from the U.S. and one Canada, having to sort them and handle them differently poses a problem for us.

Of course we're not sure how the packers are going to react but one would anticipate if it increases our costs by having to trace them differently or do something differently with them the implications are the may drop the price and then consequently our producers are very concerned about that.


Ketilson suggests we lack adequate slaughter capacity in western Canada and any

border disruptions resulting from mandatory COOL would further exaggerate that problem.He points out Saskatchewan producers already face an economic disadvantage because of the cost of transporting their hogs into the U.S.

5m Editor