Saskatchewan teens take beef message to Toronto

On July 30, four Mortlach, Sask., teens took their message that Canadian beef rocks to the largest one-day music concert ever staged in Canada.

The Toronto concert was held to showcase the city following its brush with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus this year, but it also became a venue to promote and eat Canadian beef. There were almost half a million people at the concert.

Megan Nash, 13, was one of four rural youths invited by Saskatchewan premier Lorne Calvert to travel to Toronto to spread the word about the plight of Canadian cattle producers. A single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy found in a cow in northern Alberta closed the U.S. border to Canadian beef earlier this year.

Nash’s group caught the attention of Calvert with their campaign to encourage fast food restaurants to stock more Canadian beef.

The group’s goal is to get consumers to eat more beef, support the domestic cattle industry and encourage fast food restaurants to use 100 percent Canadian beef, said Nash.

“We were there (in Toronto) to spread the message about trying to convince more people to eat more Canadian beef,” she said.

“It was a good chance to get the message across and show them how it affects us.”

Nash believes they accomplished that by handing out pamphlets, working a beef barbecue, chatting with concert-goers and distributing bumper stickers and tattoos.

“You can get anyone’s attention if you have free tattoos,” she said of the “Canadian beef rocks” tattoos she distributed with friends, Brett-Lyn Bossence, Stephanie Adams and Rhyann Duffey.

In addition to watching the concert headlined by the Rolling Stones, the girls squeezed in some sightseeing and attended a Blue Jays game.

Back home in Saskatchewan, they plan to continue to lobby restaurants to stock Canadian beef.

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