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This morning I talked to Martin Unrau, President of the Canadian Cattlemans Association about his recent trip to Washington, DC to lobby for the repeal of the US mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) legislation.
As Martin Unrau mentions in the interview, groups like the NCBA and AMI have spoke out against the mandatory legislation. The additional costs of COOL to the cattle and pork sector are very untimely considering the economic challenges for producers and packers.
Yesterday, Federal Ag-Minister Gerry Ritz was starting to talk tough by implying that Canada could be forced to take “extensive retaliatory measures” if the US fails to act. How to act is definitely another issue altogether.
Suggesting that Canada just shut off the border to US beef is not so easy as it sounds. This decision would do nothing more than punish the members of AMI and NCBA, who have been very supportive of Canada in its fight against mandatory COOL legislation.
Groups like the NFU and R-CALF have the ear of President Obama as his administration continues to ignore the feelings of the larger member organizations such as the NCBA. Meanwhile, back in reality more packing plants will be going idle and feedyards will be pulling back cattle on feed. Is all of that due to COOL? No!!! COOL has not helped. Some will tell you that Cargill is virtually uncompetitive in Canada in this environment along with other Western based US plants.
Canada is confident they will be successful but the industry does not have the long run to wait on either side of the border.