Thank you for that question. I think it's a very appropriate question for the cattle industry at this point in time.
As you've noted, we did experience a serious setback in 2003 when we lost all of our market access due to the discovery of BSE. I don't think the losses to the industry have been entirely quantified but they clearly were in the billions of dollars. It was a significant setback for the industry, and the supply chain that supported that industry.
Due to a lot of work by industry members and key government officials and work through the beef value chain round table, we have recovered the vast majority of that market access that had been lost. The industry is moving into a much brighter day. In fact, we're finding ourselves very competitive globally in spite of a high dollar and very high feed prices.
While with higher prices, per capita consumption of beef has dropped slightly, demand as measured by quantity times price has held constant here in Canada. We're very pleased about that. We're appreciative to Canadian consumers for supporting the industry.
You make a very good point on what's next in terms of market development both domestically and abroad. That's an issue our industry has taken quite seriously. In fact, it was really that question which prompted the reorganization of our market development organizations, which consisted of the Canada Beef Export Federation to look after our international market development, and the Beef Information Centre to deal with our North American market development.
In order to make better use of the funding and to be more efficient, we've combined those two organizations into Canada Beef Inc. That new organization is up and running with a new executive director. They've hit the ground running. They have both a very comprehensive domestic North American market development program, as well as a very targeted, focused international market development program.
We believe the time is right to really move forward with that market development work on behalf of the industry.