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From: TSS ()
Subject: R-CALF Explores Legal Options Available in Dispute With USDA
Date: August 3, 2005 at 6:26 am PST

by Leo McDonnell: Today 8/2/2005 7:13:00 PM

Cattle: R-CALF Explores Legal Options Available in Dispute With USDA

“The recent opinion issued by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that temporarily reopened the Canadian border to live cattle sets a very troublesome precedent. It suggests that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is subject to little or no constraints when it decides whether to allow importation of agricultural products from countries affected by disease. This is a concern not just for today. In the future, when USDA chooses to favor trade over protecting U.S. agriculture, concerned citizens will have little real opportunity to express disagreement with those polices and then challenge such USDA decisions.

“Despite the 9th Circuit decision eliminating the preliminary injunction that had protected the U.S. from immediate imports of Canadian cattle, we remain confident that USDA’s Final Rule on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and the establishment of ‘minimal risk regions’ is premature and does not adequately protect the U.S. cattle industry from the risks of introducing the disease from BSE-affected countries. It is important to remember that only because of R-CALF USA’s successful court action in April 2004 was our industry protected from USDA’s improper action of allowing higher-risk beef products, including products from Canadian cattle over 30 months of age, into the United States.

“We are now looking at the best strategy to move forward to strengthen the United States’ resistance to BSE, and this case is far from over. The 9th Circuit judges did not have all the facts before them when they reached the decision to reopen the Canadian border to live cattle. Importantly, they did not have the entire 13,000-page Administrative Record that contains the scientific evidence USDA ignored when the agency wrote its Final Rule. We are looking forward to the opportunity to present all of the merits of our case as we move forward with our request to obtain a permanent injunction against the USDA Final Rule.

“R-CALF also continues its work on the numerous other issues impacting the competitiveness of the U.S. cattle industry. We must implement Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (M-COOL) so domestic producers can differentiate their products in the marketplace; we must address captive cattle supplies that are used to leverage down domestic cattle prices; we must remain involved in animal identification; and, we must include industry safeguards in trade agreements that protect U.S. cattle producers from price-depressing import surges.

“R-CALF’s challenge to USDA’s Final Rule has become a very prominent issue, and one that highlights how both USDA and major meat industry organizations have emphasized trade liberalization and meat packers’ financial interests over the interests of U.S. cattle producers and U.S. consumers. Yet this case is but one element of what R-CALF does in terms of clearly being the organization that has taken the lead in representing U.S. cattle producers on this and a variety of other important issues.”


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