California joins the Texas, New Mexico and Arizona Departments of Agriculture in seeking a halt to the exportation of Canadian cattle through U.S. export facilities into Mexico until a resolution is reached based upon acceptable international trade standards.

"California is in full support of the action taken by the Texas Department of Agriculture to stop Canadian cattle from passing through Texas export facilities into Mexico. The agreement signed by Canadian and Mexican officials on live cattle trade is inconsistent with international standards. Trade in agricultural products - be it cattle or produce should be based on sound science. Texas has taken appropriate measures to highlight this trade inequity - one that directly impacts this nation's cattle industry," said A.G. Kawamura, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Earlier this month, Canadian and Mexican officials signed an agreement that allows the trade of certain dairy and beef cattle, less than 30 months of age - including breeding stock. The United States is currently prohibited from exporting live cattle to Mexico with the exception of dairy heifers under the age of 24 months. Mexico's agreement with Canada allows live cattle trade provisions that are inconsistent with international standards set by the World Organization of Animal Health, providing access for Canadian cattle while still prohibiting U.S. exports.

As a result of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) outbreak in December of 2003, the United States government has worked to reestablish trading protocols with foreign countries for the resumption of beef and live cattle trade. These trading protocols are based on recognized international standards and several countries have renewed trade in these commodities. The recent action by the Mexico and Canada fails to recognize these trade standards, continuing to limit exports of U.S. live cattle.