[font='MS Sans Serif','Arial','Helvetica']How to Gauge Age of Cattle Next Issue in Japan-U.S. BSE Spat[/font]
[font='MS Sans Serif','Arial','Helvetica']Asia Pulse Pte Ltd, September 21, 2004 [/font]
[font='MS Sans Serif','Arial','Helvetica']TOKYO, Sept 21 Asia Pulse - The question of how to determine the age of a cow is emerging as a new source of conflict between Tokyo and Washington in regard to whether and when Japan will resume imports of U.S. beef. Japan continues to ban American meat due to fears about bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease.
Tokyo has decided to request that all U.S. cows over 20 months old be subject to inspection for mad cow disease before beef from them is imported into Japan. The government is set to ask U.S. authorities to tag all American-raised cows set aside for the Japanese market with their date of birth, the same as livestock farmers do in Japan.
The U.S., however, claims that such a step is unnecessary and that an examination of muscle hardness and bone width, among others, is sufficient to determine whether a given cow is 20 months old or not. Japan is wary of this claim, saying these factors differ from cow to cow.
Some U.S. farmers have been voluntarily determining their cows' ages in terms of months. If Washington recognizes these efforts as official checks, Japan will be ready to restart importing beef from those cows, government sources said.
U.S. authorities, however, may be reluctant to allow exports to Japan of meat from only some U.S. cows.
[/font][font='MS Sans Serif','Arial','Helvetica'](C) 2004 Asia Pulse Pte Ltd. [/font]
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