Thirty-five black Angus cattle crossed the border around noon at Lewiston, N.Y., near Niagara Falls, according to the shipper, Schaus Land and Cattle Co. of Elmwood, Ontario. The animals were destined for a Pennsylvania slaughterhouse.
"It's been a long wait to get cattle to cross the line again," said company owner Wally Schaus. "We went from 18 trucks to nine, and it was a struggle to keep nine trucks busy, but with the border open again, it won't be hard to get 20 trucks going again."
In Washington state, a common destination for Canadian cattle, another Canadian shipper has submitted a request to cross the border.
"We haven't had a shipment go through yet, but we do have one in the process of being arranged. We don't know if it will be by the end of the day," said Mike Louisell, spokesman for the state's Agriculture Department.
Last Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a Montana judge's decision that had kept the border closed.
The United States banned Canadian cattle in May 2003 after Canada's first case of mad cow disease.
The ban hurt the U.S. meatpacking industry, which has laid off an estimated 8,000 workers. The industry estimates that Canada shipped 1 million head a year into the U.S. before the ban.
It also hurt Canada's cattle industry, costing Schaus alone millions of dollars, company controller Luke Simpson said.
"The border closing was an awful devastation," he said. "We had many, many cattle in inventory that suddenly were not worth very much."