Jon Wooster COOL seems to be a ‘stand your ground’ event in the beef business. Asking the industry to label a piece of meat to reflect country of origin has caused every organization with some skin in the game to choose up sides. The first shot was fired on July 8 by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, North American Meat Association, American Meat Institute, Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Mexico's National Confederation of Livestock Organizations and four other groups seeking an end to COOL. It's too cumbersome and costly and serves no compelling government interest, they said.
R-CALF-USA quickly returned fire. An angered Bill Bullard responded with some of his fiery-as-usual language, demanding that COOL be implemented without further delay. You can read my July 19 interview with him by clicking here. I asked representatives of several of the organizations that filed the suit to block the implementation of COOL if they would answer a few similar questions but they demurred, saying they would wait for the court to decide on the issue.
The defense of COOL expanded significantly just a few days ago when the United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA) in conjunction with the National Farmers Union, American Sheep Industry Association and the Consumers Federation of America, filed with the District Court in Washington, D.C. a motion to intervene in the lawsuit. Taking up some heavier artillery, USCA also announced they would begin touring the countryside later this month, "meeting with cattle producers to discuss the issues of importance to the U.S. cattle industry." The hot issue, of course, would be COOL.
There was some immediate opposition to the motion, of course, from both the government as well as the original plaintiffs. A court decision came quickly and it was in USCA’s favor. Jon Wooster, USCA President, welcomed the decision to permit his alliance to intervene. "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."
A press release issued on Friday, August 9, by USCA Executive Vice President Jess Peterson said "USCA is firmly committed to ensuring that COOL remains the law of the land."