Appeals Court Upholds COOL; Says No to Meat Lobby’s Rehearing Requests
Billings, Mont. – Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia again upheld the U.S. country of origin labeling (COOL) law by issuing the fourth and fifth pro-COOL court orders that effectively establish that the COOL law is constitutional, that Congress had the authority to pass COOL, and that implementing regulations for COOL are in compliance with the COOL statute.
The first court order denies the request by the American Meat Institute (AMI), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), and seven other foreign and domestic meat industry trade groups, for a rehearing of the July decision by the District of Columbia appeals court’s entire slate of 11 judges (known as a hearing "en banc") that upheld two previous court decisions that ruled that COOL does not violate the meat lobby’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech.
The second order issued today denies the request for a rehearing by the appeals court’s three-judge panel that ruled against the foreign and domestic meat lobby on their non-First Amendment claims.
"Congress should pay special heed to these multiple U.S. court decisions that clearly establish that U.S. cattle producers and U.S. consumers have every right to have beef, pork and chicken accurately labeled as to their country of origin," said R-CALF USA COOL Committee Chair Mike Schultz.
Schultz said the foreign and domestic meat lobby is aggressively lobbying Congress to repeal COOL because the World Trade Organization (WTO) recently found that the COOL requirement that all meat sold at retail be labeled as to where the animal from which the meat was derived was born, where it was raised, and where it was slaughtered is disadvantageous to foreign livestock.
"The WTO is wrong," said Schultz adding, "It is not COOL that disadvantages foreign livestock, it is the unprecedented monopolization of the meatpacking industries in the U.S. and Canada that results in the meatpackers ability to unilaterally impose discounts on foreign livestock."
"The multinational meatpackers impose discounts for no other reason than because they can, and there are not competitive forces left in the industry to stop them from doing it. Unfortunately, the WTO remains blind to this serious problem and has wrongly chosen COOL as its scapegoat," Schultz added.
R-CALF USA, the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, Food & Water Watch, and the Western Organization of Recourse Councils joined the COOL lawsuit filed by the foreign and domestic meat lobby as intervening parties and in addition to defending COOL through numerous court briefs, they are urging the United States to aggressively appeal the WTO’s anti-COOL decision.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only cattle trade association in the United States. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.