The Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers Association (R-CALF USA) has filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief in a Colorado federal court against the World Trade Organization (WTO) and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, alleging that WTO’s determination that the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling Act (COOL) imposes discriminatory burdens on meat imported from Canada and Mexico is contrary to U.S. law and the Uruguay Round Agreements. Made in the USA Foundation, Inc. v. WTO, No. 1:2012cv02337 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D. Colo., filed September 1, 2012). Details about WTO’s ruling appear in Issue 419 of this Update.
With some 5,400 members in 45 states, R-CALF USA apparently worked with Congress to pass the COOL legislation “that reserves the USA label for only cattle born, raised, and slaughtered in the U.S.A.” The complaint alleges that the plaintiffs will lose income as a result of WTO’s ruling and that its members “are harmed by any dilution of the country of origin labeling law and do not want their domestic meat confused by the consumer with meat from Canada or Mexico.” They seek a declaration that WTO has no authority to override U.S. law, and orders compelling Vilsack to “implement and enforce the Country of Origin Labeling Act as enacted by Congress” and requiring U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to “cease and desist from negotiating away the sovereignty of the United States by attempting to amend and dilute the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling Act.”