from the National Farmers Union
There’s a lot of misinformation about COOL being spread by our packer- and processor-opponents. Below are the facts about COOL that you can use as talking points when talking with members of Congress, your friends and neighbors, or the media:
- The United States has never conceded to the WTO before being directed to do so by a dispute panel.
- Changing the COOL law at this time, in the middle of an appeal, would be letting Canada tell us whether or not our laws are WTO-compliant, raising a major sovereignty issue.
- We should take a line from Canada – they fought the United States’ softwood lumber trade dispute for 24 years without giving in until WTO forced them to do so.
- Repealing the COOL law would affect more than meat and poultry. COOL requirements apply to muscle cuts of beef, lamb, pork, goat and chicken; ground beef, ground lamb, ground pork, ground goat and ground chicken; farm-raised fish and shellfish; wild fish and shellfish; perishable agricultural commodities (like fruits and vegetables); peanuts; ginseng, pecans and macadamia nuts.
- The WTO found that the COOL law itself is trade-compliant, but the way in which it was implemented was not. USDA then worked with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to write new regulations that would comply with our trade obligations. USTR has said publicly that it is confident the WTO dispute panel will find that the new regulations are trade-compliant.
- The new COOL rules have already achieved a victory in court. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has denied meatpackers’ request for a preliminary injunction blocking the COOL rules.
- COOL opponents are trying to scare Congress into premature and unwarranted legislative action because they see the writing on the wall: meatpackers’ chances of winning COOL challenges at the WTO and in court are slim.
- An overwhelming 98 percent of consumers support COOL.
- Congress already worked out these issues in 2008. In fact, many of the same organizations who filed the lawsuit against USDA and the COOL rules were present in the room when negotiations were occurring during the 2008 Farm Bill.
- The House farm bill’s COOL implementation “study” language is merely a Trojan horse for complete repeal of the COOL law. Congressional staff and members have confirmed that their true intention is to use the farm bill as placeholder language for repeal.