Independent Cattle Producers Need Consumer Support
December 11, 2015
It would be careless to pay a plumber a service call in order to retrieve a penny dropped down the drain, but this is what some in congress are trying to do. The U.S. Senate is a few votes away from repealing a law that satisfies a basic consumer right; the right for transparency in food origin and for the ability to choose from where the meat they purchase is born, raised, and processed.
The primary justification our representatives stand behind for repealing the law is World Trade Organization (WTO) authorized retaliation by Canada and Mexico for damages they claim to face due to the implementation of Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). USA trade with Mexico and Canada accounts for over $1.1 trillion dollars in goods traded annually. WTO has ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico, granting damages as tariffs on imported U.S. goods to the tune of $1 billion. At face value, it appears to be a significant amount, however it is a matter of putting it all into perspective, and if Canada and Mexico are really willing to risk $1 trillion in trade.
Even with the imposed $1 billion in retaliatory taxation, it is still a fraction of a fraction of the total goods traded between nations. It is at most, a slap on the wrist, because COOL does not damage trade relations or the independent cattle ranching industry. In fact, it can be argued that everyone benefits. Even still, to put it all into perspective, if one dollar were to equal the billion-dollar tariff, it would be the equivalent of 1/10th of a penny. Therefore, the justification of repealing COOL to avoid retaliation does not make sense.
The motive to repeal the law is actually much more simple to understand; this law reduces the big profits of the mighty meat packers. The packers have lobbied congress, for years in opposition of the consumer’s right to know the origin of their food, because it cuts into profits. In an effort to maximize profit, the meat packing industry continuously seeks ways to eliminate the label of origin. With a full repeal accomplished, they will again be enabled to comingle USA meat with meat of various countries of origin and then label it as a USA product.
Like that penny lost down the drain, a full repeal of the definition of what it means to be born, raised, and processed in the USA is far costlier to the consumers, ranchers, and sovereignty of our great nation. Do not stand by and let congress and the meat processors fool you. The Kansas Cattlemen’s Association urges all consumers to call and voice their concern to their U.S. Senators immediately. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senator’s office. Tell them, “I as your constituent, support country of origin labeling and I expect you to oppose any legislation that repeals this critical law.”
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