Two Federal Courts Have Now Swatted Down Big Biz Attempts to Thwart COOL
In another victory for independent and family U.S. livestock farmers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has rejected an appeal from an earlier district court ruling against plaintiffs in a suit to suspend Country of Origin Labeling regulations while the plaintiff’s larger suit against COOL moves through the judicial system.
Last Friday’s decision is the latest setback for plaintiffs who filed the case in an effort to have the revised COOL regulations invalidated. The case was filed on July 8, 2013, by 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.
While that larger case is being adjudicated, plaintiffs have sought an injunction which would have prevented existing COOL regulations from remaining in effect. For now, COOL stands.
The National Farmers Union, together with the United States Cattlemen’s Association, the American Sheep Industry Association and the Consumer Federation of America, intervened to defend the COOL regulations from challenge, and they actively participated in a briefing at the District Court and the Court of Appeals, as well as the preliminary injunction hearing at the District Court.
“I am extremely pleased with today’s decision,” said Roger Johnson, NFU president. “Yet again, claims that the revised COOL regulations are unconstitutional or inconsistent with the COOL statute have been rejected in federal court.”
“Today’s decision notes that COOL advances legitimate values, including consumer information and consumer choice. The Court of Appeals also explained that COOL labels can be seen as a sign that retailers ‘take pride in identifying the source of their products.’ NFU’s family farmer- and rancher-members certainly take pride in the products they produce, and I am glad that consumers will be able to continue to identify their products at retail as a result of today’s decision.”
Johnson is currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the World Farmers Organization’s fourth general assembly, where many of the speakers have discussed the need for farmers to connect more directly with consumers and be more transparent to enhance consumer confidence.
Johnson said NFU will remain engaged with its allies in the courtroom battles over COOL on behalf family farmers and consumers.