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Kroffat takes beefs to Ottawa

Watching ranchers shed tears over the mad cow crisis has two Cochrane-area advocates promising a meeting with Prime Minister Paul Martin is on the menu. "Our ranchers are desperately struggling, and our hope is that by flying to Ottawa, we'll move this matter up on the political agenda," said Alex Baum.

Baum, along with former professional wrestler Dan Kroffat have gathered more than 70,000 signatures at -- an effort to clear the way for open cattle trade between Canada and the U.S.

Buoyed by the success of the month-old petition, the pair will travel to Ottawa in early October, where they plan to personally hand it over to Martin.

"We hope by then we'll have in excess of 100,000 signatures," Baum said, shortly after announcing their intentions in Cochrane yesterday.

"Even in the past 24 hours, the petition has grown by 10,000 names from across the country."

And judging from the initiative's success so far, Martin will be facing even more pressure to solve the beef industry's woes, Kroffat said.

"We hope the petition will support the government in what they're trying to do, and perhaps start some more dialogue," he said.

"We've sat down with ranchers who are in tears because they're losing everything, and they can no longer pass on their business to their children -- that's why we're doing this."

Wild Rose MP Myron Thompson joined several other politicians yesterday in offering their support.

"I hope all the party leaders pay attention to this, because it's not a partisan issue, it's affecting everyone," he said.


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