Eight major livestock lobby groups in the United States and Canada have decided to pursue legal action against the United States Government for its implementation of the new mandatory country of origin (COOL) legislation. The legal action was released this morning and it pits the producers and packers against the US government in a very interesting new stage to the mandatory Country of Origin Labeling battle. The livestock groups are stating that mandatory COOL is unconstitutional.
Anne Wasko, RealAgriculture.com, Beef Industry Analyst: “Producers will be looking at this legal battle with the US government as positive news, but Canada’s WTO challenge still carries on.”
According to the American Meat Institute Press Release:
In their complaint, the meat and livestock organizations explained that the final rule violates the United States Constitution by compelling speech in the form of costly and detailed labels on meat products that do not directly advance a government interest. In addition, the organizations explained that the 2013 regulation exceeds the scope of the statutory mandate, because the statute does not permit the kind of detailed and onerous labeling requirements the final rule puts in place, and that the rule is arbitrary and capricious, because it imposes vast burdens on the industry with little to no countervailing benefit.
The eight participating plaintiffs are the American Association of Meat Processors, American Meat Institute, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Pork Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Association, and Southwest Meat Association.
Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy Editor, tweeted
Eight U.S. and Canadian meat groups: consumer curiosity on where their meat comes from is not a legitimate government interest. #COOL
— Chris Clayton (@ChrisClaytonDTN) July 9, 2013
Already some are asking if this is nothing more than a very public way to gain some attention to the cause of making COOL no longer mandatory. Others are saying that this step had to happen in order to make the US Government take a step back to realize what they are doing to livestock industry trade and food prices.