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Agricultural News

R-Calf Opposes Any and All Measures That Repeal COOL

Fri, 24 Jul 2015 05:41:46 CDT

R-Calf Opposes Any and All Measures That Repeal COOL Bill Bullard with R-Calf is unhappy with both approaches to deal with COOL that have been proposed in the US Senate. R-Calf opposes repeal and believes that retaliation compensation levels should be challenged by the US Government within the WTO process. Bullard says that until we see the results of the arbitration phase of the dispute process that no action should be taken.

R-Calf stands alone in their position. The US Cattlmen's Association and the National Farmers Union have chosen to support the Debbie Stabenow proposal that would repeal COOL but at the same time mandate a voluntary COOL program. The National Cattlemen's Beef Associationm and the National Pork Producers and multiple other meat industry players oppose the Stabenow measure but support the Pat Roberts amendment to the Transportation Bill that would be a "clean" repeal of COOL.

Bullard released the following statement on Thursday in regards to the Stabenow proposal:

"It is unprecedented and without justification for the U.S. Senate to be aggressively working to repeal our nation's widely popular, mandatory COOL law while officials from the Office of the United States Trade Representative are simultaneously fighting aggressively at the WTO (World Trade Organization) to defend the United States' sovereign right to continue informing consumers as to the origins of their food with mandatory country of origin labels. On June 16, 2015 the U.S. entered into the arbitration phase of the WTO dispute process and that phase is expected to last 60 days or more.
"The sponsors of this legislation are giving the meatpackers a huge gift and they are getting nothing in return. The gift is the repeal of COOL and the Senators are acting like the meatpackers' minions by aggressively executing the meatpackers' long-held desire to kill COOL. The meatpackers should be smiling like Cheshire Cats as their wish is coming true without them having to lift a corporate finger.
"The nothing that the Senate is actually getting for repealing COOL is the so-called voluntary COOL program. The meatpackers the new legislation purports to authorize to affix voluntary labels are the same meatpackers that sued the United States in federal court because they claimed their constitutional rights to free speech were being violated because mandatory COOL forced them against their will to inform consumers as to the origins of meat.
"In their lawsuit the meatpackers explained why they do not want to differentiate beef as to its origin. The meatpackers stated in their legal pleadings, "In short, beef is beef, whether the cattle were born in Montana, Manitoba, or Mazatlán."
"This COOL repeal legislation is an affront to our nation's consumer groups who were never even consulted by the sponsors of this repeal legislation even though they were instrumental in passing mandatory COOL in the first place. It is also an affront to all the hard working U.S. farmers and ranchers who want consumers to know which beef in the grocery store was produced exclusively by them.
"We are deeply disappointed that this legislation is being introduced and we will do all we can to encourage the rest of the U.S. Senate to vote it down."

On Thursday evening- Bullard issued another appeal to his supporters- this time about the Pat Roberts clean Repeal of COOL.

"This afternoon we learned that Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) has filed a COOL repeal amendment to the must-pass transportation bill that is being debated right now. If the amendment to repeal COOL is approved by the Senate, then the chances are slim to none that the full Senate will vote down the transportation bill.
"So, we need to call every Senator as quickly as possible to urge them to reject Senator Roberts' amendment or any other amendment that would weaken COOL, including any amendment to convert mandatory COOL to a voluntary program.
"Action: Please begin calling your Senators to urge them to vote "NO" on the Roberts amendment to the Transportation Bill that would repeal COOL for beef, pork and chicken and ground meat. Also urge them to vote "NO" on any other amendment that would convert COOL to a voluntary program.
"We are far better off to fight to the end for mandatory COOL than to jump ship and pretend that voluntary COOL will serve the interests of consumers or producers. We will be better off in a future Congress if beef, pork and chicken are the only commodities that are unlabeled while seafood, fruits and vegetable, nuts, lamb, goat meat and venison are all labeled.
"If we lose this COOL fight, we will come back to a new Congress with a clean slate. If we surrender now for an unworkable voluntary program, our opponents will say it isn't true that beef, pork and chicken are the only commodities without labels. They'll be able to say that everything is under a COOL program with the only difference being that some commodities are labeled voluntarily while others require mandatory labels. This will severely muddy the waters."



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