Billings, Mont. - In what R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard acknowledges is a Hail Mary effort to preserve mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL), today the group overnighted letters to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the current frontrunners in the 2016 presidential race. The letters seek the candidates help in defending mandatory COOL "to make the United States rancher great again."
[Reposted from the R-CALF USA site | Decembrer 11, 2015]
The U.S. mandatory COOL law requires labels on meat that inform consumers where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.
"As a presidential frontrunner, please tell America that we need COOL to make America great again. Please also explain why America should not capitulate to the WTO (World Trade Organization) on such an important sovereign matter as informing U.S. citizens about the origins of their food," the group asks.
The letters state COOL is targeted for repeal in the 2016 omnibus spending bill. They also state COOL is in peril because big meatpackers, Canada, and Mexico convinced the WTO that labeling imported meat is discriminatory because it requires imported animals to be segregated from domestic animals.
The letters explain that after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal COOL last June, domestic cattle prices began to fall, causing U.S. cattle ranchers to lose upwards of $500 per head.
"We could not be more disappointed in Congress and this Administration for their utter failure to stand up to the unaccountable WTO in defense of our mandatory COOL law," said Bullard.
The group's appeal to the presidential hopefuls sums up why mandatory COOL is so essential to the economic wellbeing of U.S. ranchers:
"Without such labels, consumers cannot distinguish a USA-produced steak from steaks produced in Canada, Mexico, South America or elsewhere. United States ranchers cannot compete in our own market when retail meats are undifferentiated."
Bullard said his group also e-mailed their appeal for help in defending mandatory COOL to the next tier of presidential contenders, Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders and Republican candidate Ben Carson.
"If one or more of these presidential hopefuls begins talking about the absurdity of kowtowing to the multinational meatpackers by surrendering our mandatory COOL law, we think the public will become sufficiently outraged to call their members of Congress before it's too late," Bullard concluded.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only cattle trade association in the United States. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry.