A Steak in Ag

A monthly report by R-CALF USA

R-CALF USA may be defined as a non-profit producer organization, but our work benefits anyone who eats meat and lives in an economy that includes agriculture. We’re more than a producer organization; we’re your organization!

R-CALF USA continues to fight for COOL. Recently in a meeting with White House Domestic Policy Council staff, R-CALF USA and other farm and consumer groups urged that President Obama direct his U.S. Trade Representative, Michael Froman, and his Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to steadfastly defend the United States’ recently implemented country of origin labeling (COOL) law and regulations.

Referencing the President’s abandonment of his campaign promises to better enforce antitrust laws and restore competition in U.S. livestock markets, R-CALF USA said COOL is the only significant livestock competition reform still on the table.

Also, in written testimony submitted for a recent hearing on meat labeling requirements held by the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, R-CALF USA urged subcommittee members to take no action that would in any way undermine the U.S. country of origin labeling (COOL) law.

First, the group argued that disclosure of country of origin information matters in a free and competitive society. R-CALF USA cited the official rules of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture that require witnesses to disclose the country of origin of any payment or contract received by a witness that appears before the Committee.

Second, the group argued that any weakening of COOL would severely reduce marketplace competition that has already been severely eroded by unprecedented marketplace consolidation.

R-CALF USA also argued that because the World Trade Organization (WTO) was an advocacy group that was actively promoting its own “Made in the World” label, and because the WTO assigned a Mexican national to preside over the COOL case in which Mexico was a party, the WTO was conflicted and should not be relied upon to make an unbiased ruling regarding COOL.

Finally, R-CALF USA argued that Congress must continue upholding COOL to ensure that imported meat is no longer allowed to deceptively assume the positive reputations of U.S. farmers and ranchers through non-disclosure of the meat’s origins.

While COOL has been upheld by U.S. courts, an appeal is underway at the WTO to determine if the international tribunal will recognize the United States’ sovereign right to inform consumers about the origins of their food.

With COOL, consumers know under which country’s production regime the animal from which the meat they purchase for their families was born, raised and slaughtered. No longer can meat from animals born and/or raised in a foreign country be passed off to unsuspecting U.S. consumers as meat deserving of the U.S. farmers’ and ranchers’ reputation.

Mark your calendars for this year’s annual convention: Aug. 14-15, 2015 in Denver, Colo.

R-CALF USA is solely funded by donations and membership dues. Please consider becoming a member or giving a donation. For more info or to join, go to http://www.r-calfusa.com, 406-252-2516.


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