High 'steaks': A critique of Canada's 2014 national beef strategy
The discovery of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in a lone cow on a Northern Alberta ranch in 2003 battered the nation's beef sector as North American and international markets banned Canadian exports of live cattle and beef by-products. Canada has since regained full or partial access to many major export destinations at a time of growing global beef demand. Canada's most recent national beef strategy focuses heavily on how the industry can work collaboratively to best position itself in competing for a greater segment of the global beef market, particularly in Asia, and primarily through the development of new free trade agreements. The presence of non-tariff trade restrictions relating to food health and safety in identified foreign markets and a shifting environment in international trade, however, promote a high risk future. In light of declining prices for beef and the increasing trade imbalance with the United States, this paper argues that a better strategy for an industry that has historically upheld an 'export or starve' dictum, is a greater focus on the domestic consumer market and the continued expansion of the nation's slaughter capacity.