Beef slaughter numbers in Western Canada were up a whopping 18 per cent in the last week of January compared to the same week a year before. While slaughter was down in Eastern Canada, the overall change across Canada was still 12.4 per cent. The increase in slaughter numbers is matched by an 18.9 per cent decline in live cattle exports.
Market watchers agree that Country-of-Origin Labelling (COOL) in the United States is the reason. Paul Stiles, assistant manager, Ontario Cattlemen’s Association, says that Western Canadian plants were working under capacity previously. Operators of the Better Beef plant in Guelph, Eastern Canada’s largest, can’t get enough cattle to go to a double shift even when they buy from Quebec.