Ruling expected next week on COOL preliminary injunction
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has entered an order granting the motion by the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA), National Farmers Union (NFU), the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) and Consumer Federation of America (CFA) to intervene in full in the country of origin labeling (COOL) lawsuit filed on July 8.
Jon Wooster, USCA President, said the court’s decision to permit the groups to intervene in full is good news. “Plaintiffs had filed a partial opposition to our motion to intervene, opposing our participation in the preliminary injunction but taking no position on our participating in the part of the litigation that deals with the merits. The court’s order granting our motion to intervene makes clear that we can participate at the preliminary injunction hearing as well as in the remainder of the litigation.”
The lawsuit seeking to halt the implementation and enforcement of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) COOL regulations was filed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), American Meat Institute, North American Meat Association, National Pork Producers Council, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Pork Council, American Association of Meat Processors, Southwest Meat Association and Mexico’s National Confederation of Livestock Organizations. On July 26, the plaintiffs announced that they had filed a motion with the court seeking a preliminary injunction.
“We have filed briefs with the court presenting our opposition to the preliminary injunction motion filed by the plaintiffs,” noted Wooster. “The court has given plaintiffs an August 22 deadline to reply to our opposition to the preliminary injunction, and a hearing has been set for August 27.”
Wooster continued, “We are pleased that we have been allowed to intervene in the litigation and that our materials are now before the court. USCA and its fellow intervenors are strong advocates to ensure that consumers in fact know where their beef is from. The revised regulations announced on May 23 of this year will surely reduce consumer confusion. For producers, providing consumers with accurate information on where an animal has been born and raised gives cow-calf operators, backgrounders and feedlots a chance to differentiate their product as indeed born, raised and slaughtered in the United States when the animal is processed in our country. A preliminary injunction, if granted, would further delay consumers having the type of information Congress has long wanted and that all of us who believe in COOL have been seeking through the regulatory process.”