Just a few weeks ago, the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced that it found in favor of Canada and Mexico in their dispute against the U.S. regarding country of origin labeling (COOL). According to the WTO, the labeling rule unfairly discriminates against meat imports. However, the WTO compliance panel also found that the labels do provide U.S. consumers with information on the origin of their food, countering Canada and Mexico's assertion that the labels do not serve their intended purpose. The WTO never said that the U.S. could not implement such a program. It only found that the COOL rules were not in line with a treaty that the U.S. government signed with other North American countries. Still, Kansas Cattlemen's Association and hundreds of thousands of Americans feel that the U.S. government has a responsibility to its people to continue moving forward with COOL.
COOL is such a hot topic, that the U.S. courts have been involved in the issue as well. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the American Meat Institute's request to rehear a motion to block COOL. This is the fourth pro-COOL judgment since the court case began more than a year ago.
"Many cattlemen's groups across the country, like KCA, are in support of COOL. The groups that are fighting COOL are the meat packers, the multinational beef lobbying organization, and the foreign cattlemen's groups. The court's recent decision is a win for COOL, a win for all consumers, and a win for the U.S. cattleman who wakes up early every morning, puts on his boots, and works hard every day to supply the world with healthy, wholesome and safe food," stated KCA Executive Director Tyler Dupy.
KCA continues to reach out to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative to encourage it to appeal the latest WTO ruling. KCA continues to communicate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Secretary Vilsack to remain steadfast in the pursuit of COOL implementation, and KCA continues to stand strong in reminding legislators of the importance of COOL to the U.S. people. Kansas Cattlemen's Association is committed to country of origin labeling and will continue to actively engage in opportunities to move forward with its implementation.
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