The Roundup -

A Steak in Ag


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!

Recently the World Trade Organization (WTO) authorized Canada and Mexico to recover over $1 billion in damages each year from the United States because it claims those countries are harmed by our mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law. The COOL law requires retailers to inform consumers where their meat was born, raised and slaughtered.

Not surprisingly, the WTO relied heavily on the anti-COOL report that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) submitted to Congress last April. That report carried the meatpackers’ message that COOL causes billions of dollars in damages to the U.S. beef industry and provides no benefits to consumers or cattle producers.

Our U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, actually suggested to Congress that they should repeal COOL. Additionally, many former COOL supporters are now pushing a repeal of COOL with a conversion to a voluntary program.

At $1.008 billion, the actual WTO damage amount is less than one-third of what these groups said it would be. The strong champions we previously had in the U.S. Senate now have cold feet because they’ve been pushed for the past several months to support voluntary COOL.

So, now we stand with a biased WTO decision that is much lower than everyone feared. But the Senate appears to be falling all over itself to do away with COOL, either with a full repeal or a repeal/voluntary program. There is absolutely nobody in the U.S. Senate who has agreed to stand up for our country’s sovereign right to preserve our mandatory COOL law. Nobody!

Nobody has called for a diplomatic solution, which means a one-on-one negotiation like the kind the U.S. did during the previous two hundred years when it was strong – before it ceded its sovereignty to the WTO.

Nobody has demonstrated the courage to say that they will not repeal a law that surveys show is supported by 90 percent of U.S. consumers.

Action: We cannot quit trying to rekindle a COOL champion from among those who have been neutralized by the voluntary COOL camp.

Please call your Senators Jon Tester (202-224-2644) and Steve Daines (202-224-2651) today and tell them there is no need to repeal or weaken COOL. Instead, tell them they should demand that the White House negotiate a solution that maintains mandatory COOL. Urge them to vote NO on any legislation or amendment that would repeal COOL or make labeling voluntary.

It isn’t over till it’s over, and we’re not over this yet. Thanks for your help!

Breakdown of WTO Damages:

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