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Preliminary Injunction Request Filed in COOL Lawsuit: U.S. Cattlemen Announce Plan to Intervene

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

(American Meat Institute)

AMI joined eight U.S., Canadian and Mexican meat and livestock organizations seeking a Preliminary Injunction against the Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) rule. In the request filed July 25, the groups said that they had a high likelihood of success in their case and that enforcement of the May 2013 rule would cause irreparable harm to the industry and have severe economic impacts that are not in the public interest.  

Plaintiffs include the American Association of Meat Processors, Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Canadian Pork Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Association, Southwest Meat Association and Mexico's National Confederation of Livestock Organizations which joined the lawsuit this week.

The plaintiffs assert that they "are very likely to succeed on the merits and the Final Rule will likely be vacated.  But if it is not enjoined in the meantime, the Final Rule will irreparably harm meat-industry participants throughout the country.  Plaintiffs are trade organizations that represent regulated entities facing immediate and substantial burdens and costs under the Final Rule."

The injunction request follows the complaint and 1) outlines the burden to the plaintiffs' First Amendment speech rights; 2) explains that the rule exceeds the authority granted to USDA in the 2008 Farm Bill; and 3) demonstrates that the rule is arbitrary and capricious, offering little benefit to consumers while fundamentally altering the meat and poultry industry.

The lawsuit was filed July 8, 2013 in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to block implementation of the COOL rule. The original complaint is available here.

Separately, the U.S. Cattlemen's Association (USCA) announced it will seek to intervene in the lawsuit. In a press release, USCA said it has a "responsibility to intervene in this lawsuit to ensure that the court hears from the U.S. cattle industry and receives facts and arguments that will have a more meaningful impact coming from the industry itself."

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