USCA (September 11, 2013) - The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia today denied plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction that, if granted, would have blocked the Department of Agriculture (USDA) from implementing and enforcing its revised country of origin labeling (COOL) regulations until a lawsuit filed July 8 is concluded. The U.S. Cattlemen's Association (USCA), along with National Farmers Union (NFU), American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) and the Consumer Federation of America, became intervenors in the lawsuit on August 19 when the court entered an order granting their motion to intervene in full, permitting the groups to participate in the preliminary injunction hearing as well as the remainder of the litigation.
The following statement can be attributed to Jon Wooster, USCA President, San Lucas, Calif.
"We, of course, are pleased with the court's decision to deny the preliminary injunction requested by the plaintiffs. If the injunction had been granted it would have ensured that the United States would be in violation of its trade obligations under the WTO and also would have further delayed consumers having the type of information Congress has long intended them to have. The revised USDA regulations announced on May 23 of this year will certainly reduce consumer confusion and will allow cattle producers the ability to differentiate their product from foreign beef.”
"USCA, NFU, ASI and CFA are committed to a strong defense of COOL and, on behalf of all four organizations, I want to extend our gratitude to all those who are contributing to the U.S. COOL Defense Fund. This is an expensive undertaking but it is a necessary one if we are to ensure the most effective defense. “
USDA's final rule modified certain provisions in COOL regulations after a WTO Appellate Body affirmed an earlier WTO Dispute Panel decision finding aspects of the regulations violated U.S. trade obligations. USDA released its modified regulations on May 23, 2013 and notified the WTO that the U.S. had come into compliance with the WTO ruling. On July 8, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American Meat Institute, Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Canadian Pork Council, North American Meat Association, American Association of Meat Processors, National Pork Producers Council, Southwest Meat Association and Mexico's National Confederation of Livestock Organizations filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking the court to vacate and set aside USDA's revised regulations. Shortly thereafter, the plaintiffs filed a motion seeking a preliminary injunction. On July 26, USCA announced that it would lead an intervention in the lawsuit and was quickly joined by NFU, ASI and CFA.
On Sept. 12, 2013, the plaintiffs filed an appeal to the ruling. Be watching Tri-State Livestock News for all the updates.