Many people in the cattle business love to hate the big packing companies. For that reason, it’s difficult to garner support for paying compensation to the packers for the extra costs they incur when they slaughter cattle over thirty months of age. It costs an estimated $31.70 more to slaughter an older animal in Canada as compared to the U.S. This is due to the more stringent Canadian rules for disposing of Specified Risk Materials. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association says that due to the differential, an increasing number of cows are going to the U.S. for slaughter. To fill the gap, Canada is importing an increasing amount of beef from Australia, New Zealand and South America. For 2010, beef imports from these countries will likely approach the 76,000 tonne limit. There will be pressure to issue supplementary import permits. It’s very difficult for Canadian packers to compete for Canadian cull animals when there’s a $30 plus disadvantage built into the system. It’s reasonable for the federal government to provide compensation to make up this difference and paying the money to big and small slaughter facilities across the country is the logical way to fix the inequity. It’s difficult to know how much of this money would end up in the hands of producers, but it does no one any good to export Canadian cull animals when the jobs and the beef should be staying here. I’m Kevin Hursh.