New Cargill executive

winnipeg/reuters / Canada’s third-largest grain handler Cargill Ltd. has named Jeff Vassart as president of its Canadian division, the company announced May 27.

Vassart, who has worked for Cargill for 17 years, replaces Len Penner who retires May 31.

Vassart takes over as Cargill builds a new canola-crushing plant in Camrose, Alberta, adds refining capacity to its canola plant in Clavet, Saskatchewan, and constructs a new flour mill with partner Horizon Milling G.P. in Guelph, Ontario.

Ottawa says EU trade close after 18 months of talks

ottawa/reuters Canada is close to finalizing a long-delayed free trade deal with the European Union, says Trade Minister Ed Fast.

Ottawa and Brussels began negotiations in 2009 and a deal was supposed to be concluded by the end of 2011.

“Our negotiators… (are) bridging the very small remaining handful of issues,” said Fast. “These are difficult discussions but our negotiators are finding creative ways of bridging the outstanding gaps.”

Among the sticking points are how much beef Canada can export and how much freedom EU companies will have to bid for Canadian government contracts.

Animal cruelty video prompts Australia to suspend cattle exports to Egypt

sydney / reuters Australian livestock exporters are suspending live cattle exports to Egypt after a graphic video purportedly showing animal cruelty in Egyptian abattoirs.

The video, secretly shot at two abattoirs by animal rights group Animals Australia, showed “appalling practices during the slaughter process,” said Alison Penfold, chief executive officer of the Australian Livestock Exporters Council.

“We are very genuine about the suspension,” she said. “There will be no animals going into those facilities until the standards are met.”

Australia’s live export industry is worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually, and much of the trade is with Muslim countries, where they are slaughtered in accordance with Islamic requirements.

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