R-CALF/NCBA Clash over COOL Ruling


When you buy meat at the grocery store, there is now a very evident label telling you where that meat came from.  That very label is the basis of a current challenge before the World Trade Organization (WTO) from Mexico and Canada.  Both claim that the new mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) law in the U.S. has hurt their cattle industries. 

While just in a preliminary decision, the WTO has recently released some of its findings on the challenge.  They state that U.S. COOL requirements do not fulfill the stated U.S. objective of helping inform consumers of the origin of meat and, consequently, violate the Technical Barriers to Trade agreement.  For more on the preliminary decision, read “WTO Preliminary Report Strikes Down COOL.”

Northern Ag Network spoke with Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA CEO and staunch COOL supporter on Wednesday.

For a press release from R-CALF USA on the preliminary decision, read “House Leaders Kowtow to Corp. Meatpackers.”

Bill Donald, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Melville, Montana rancher, says that there have been no winners with COOL and that U.S. cattle ranchers lose right along with cattlemen from Mexico and Canada. 

According to Donald, “Proponents of COOL have always believed that restricting imports of Mexican and/or Canadian feeder cattle will decrease the supply of feeder cattle in the United States and increase the price of U.S. origin feeder cattle. In reality, reducing the number of cattle in the marketplace also reduces the infrastructure of the U.S. beef industry.”

For more from the NCBA on the decision, read “NCBA: WTO Preliminary Ruling Good for Cattlmen.”

The NCBA reports that the WTO is expected to make the ruling public sometime in September.  If the official ruling reflects this preliminary decision, the United States will then have two months to decide whether to appeal the ruling.


© Northern Ag Network 2011

Haylie Shipp



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