WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2013 – The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), along with Organization for Competitive Markets, United Farm Workers of America, American Grassfed Association and three independent livestock farms filed a brief supporting the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law in a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.

The court denied a motion to delay the COOL rule in September, and the case is now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

“Consumers deserve to know where their food comes from. And factory farming organizations that seek to have it otherwise are out of step with their customers,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation for The Humane Society of the United States, in an issued statement today.

The groups and farmers are represented by lawyers with The HSUS’ Animal Protection Litigation section.

Recently in the COOL controversy, Mexico requested the establishment of a compliance panel to determine if USDA’s final COOL rule issued this year complies with World Trade Organization (WTO) findings. As well as undergoing WTO review, the final COOL rule also faces court challenges from the trade groups opposed to its implementation.

Several livestock trade associations are challenging the labeling rule. American Association of Meat Processors, American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Grocers Association, National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Association and Southwest Meat Association asked the USDA and U.S. Trade Representative to extend an industry outreach program until after a WTO compliance panel determines if the final COOL rule complies with WTO rules. 

The National Farmers Union, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association and Consumer Federation of America support COOL.

The country-of-origin labeling regulations require that meat products contain labels specifying where the livestock was born, raised and slaughtered. The regulations also prohibit the commingling of meat with different country-of-origin combinations in the same package at retail.

According to the coalition led by HSUS, labeling helps consumers who want to buy from farmers and ranchers “who often use more humane and sustainable practices, rather than industrial corporations that may commingle meat products from several foreign countries.”


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