Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America submitted a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack last week requesting an extension of the public comment period for the proposed rule entitled "Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; Importation of Bovines and Bovine Products." This is the fourth request for an extension made by the group.
R-CALF USA says the initial comment period and short extension following the comment period did not provide enough time for public comment.
The proposed rule would bring USDA regulations in line with World Organization for Animal Health guidelines and make beef import decisions based on an exporting country's risk level of the disease.
But, in the letter to Secretary Vilsack, R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard writes that the proposed rule is "riddled with inconsistencies, contradictions, and outright lies."
In support of its assertion that the Proposed Rule contains outright lies, R-CALF USA cites a specific example where USDA told a U.S. district court that its proposal would eliminate the possibility of BSE-infectivity, but now the agency claims in the Proposed Rule that it has not stated that the risk is "eliminated."
R-CALF USA is concerned that the USDA is ignoring the multiple requests for extension "because upon thorough review the public will see the Proposed Rule as corrupt and dishonest," the letter said.
Bullard further criticized the USDA's methods, writing, "Your agency is wholly lacking in accountability, creditability, and integrity. It is impossible for the public interest to even be considered, let alone protected, by an agency that resorts to outright lies in order to further its own political agenda."