The Cattle Producers of Washington will be helping to kick off a roll-over auction to benefit the U.S. Cattlemen’s legal battle to ensure Country of Origin Labeling is enacted in the United States. COOL, designed to ensure every cut of meat sold in the U.S. was marked with its country of origin, was passed in the 2002 Farm Bill.
A “roll-over” auction that continues to sell a donated steer for the highest possible price will be held Nov. 9 at Stockland Livestock Auction in Davenport, WA. The “roll-over” coincides with the annual bred cow sale at Stockland. The steer will be donated by the Diamond M Ranch, Laurier, WA.
While a popular provision with cattlemen’s groups and consumers, COOL has taken hits from the international community. Less than one year after the rule took effect, Canada and Mexico challenged the law through the World Trade Organization, arguing the labeling had a “trade distorting impact.” The WTO ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico, noting that COOL would treat livestock from those countries that entered the U.S. food chain would be “less favorably” and that COOL did not “meet its objective to provide complete information to consumers on the origin of meat products.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture appealed the ruling and while not changing the “less favorable” finding, the WTO did reverse the finding that COOL does not fulfill its legitimate objective to provide consumers with information on origin.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is set to implement new COOL requirements in response to the ruling this November. However, as that deadline looms, meat packing companies have appealed to the courts over the impeding rules, claiming it will hurt their business, even alleging it violates their “first amendment rights.”
U.S. District Judge Ketanji B. Jackson disagreed.
“In the First Amendment context, it is the burden on speech, not pocketbook, that matters,” she wrote in her judicial opinion.
Cattlemen in CPoW and with the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association are continuing to fight for the labeling requirement, confident that consumers prefer U.S. beef to other countries. They hope the labeling will increase profitability in the live cattle market.
A number of CPoW members have formed a “syndicate” to help get the rollover auction started with an opening bid. The following ranchers have all committed $100 towards the auction: Willard Wolf, Monty and Vicki McPeak, Bob Schoessler, Craig Grub, Carl Grub, Dave and Julie Dashiell, L.D. and Gwen Green, Ginger Schoesler, Jim Wentland, Dick and Madeline Moore, Scott Nielsen.
For more information, contact Scott Nielsen 509-675-2608 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org