R-CALF USA Disappointed But Not Surprised With House COOL Repeal
Billings, Mont. – R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard issued the following statement in response to today’s vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal country of origin labeling (COOL) for beef, pork, chicken, ground beef and ground pork. The vote to repeal COOL was conducted under a special resolution passed by the GOP majority on largely a party-line vote (244 to 187) that limited the entire congressional debate to only one-hour and prohibited lawmakers from making any amendments to the measure. The repeal of COOL was declared passed by a voice vote but a roll-call vote has been called and that vote is scheduled to occur later tonight.
"As expected, the GOP-led House railroaded our nation’s widely popular and critically important COOL law with a special rule that ensured insufficient time for reasonable minds to correct the profound misstatements and gross exaggerations made against COOL by the meatpacker-controlled zealots in the House.
"We are deeply disappointed but not at all surprised that the majority of U.S. House members, many of whom are beholden to multinational corporatists in their respective districts, have acted in direct contradiction to the best interests of United States citizens by voting to repeal COOL for beef, pork and chicken.
"The House majority has effectively advanced the national interests of Canada and Mexico, and their multinational corporatist allies, at the expense of the United States’ national interest to inform its citizens as to the origins of meat offered for sale in the domestic market.
"It is unprecedented and alarming that the House has unilaterally surrendered our U.S. COOL law, which was ruled constitutional by our federal court system, even while there is a pending WTO (World Trade Organization) dispute in which the U.S. has not yet had the opportunity to exercise its sovereign right to dispute Canada’s and Mexico’s outrageous and unsupported claims of COOL-related damages.
"The House has unequivocally undercut the United States’ ability, through our USTR (U.S. Trade Representative Office) to negotiate a satisfactory resolution to the ongoing WTO’s attack on our COOL law.
"Instead, it has sent a resounding message to foreign countries the world over that all they have to do to overturn U.S. laws is file a complaint at the WTO as this will cause the U.S. House to unilaterally cede sovereignty by folding like a house of cards.
"We couldn’t be more disappointed with the House and we will now turn to the Senate in an attempt to reverse the damage the House has done to our very important COOL law.
"Consumers need COOL to distinguish meat that is produced exclusively by U.S. farmers and ranchers from meat that is produced in whole or in part under some other countries’ food production and food safety systems. United States farmers and ranchers need COOL so competition, and not corporate market power, dictates where meatpackers will source their livestock to meet consumer demand.
"Without COOL U.S. farmers and ranchers will be competing with imported meat from around the world, including from South America, Asia and Europe, but consumers will not be able to tell which meat was produced where. This will ensure that U.S. farmers and ranchers remain disadvantaged in their own domestic market.
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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.