The real reason country of origin labeling was repealed


We now know the real reason country of origin labeling (COOL) was repealed was to help multinational meatpackers steal the good name and reputation of U.S. cattle producers and put it on beef from foreign-sourced cattle for duty-free distribution to Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement (TPP) countries, including the United States. They can do this because the TPP states the origin of beef is wherever the animal is slaughtered. Your reputation is worth billions of dollars, and our own USDA helped gift this incredibly valuable asset to the multinational meatpackers. You got nothing.
The TPP destroys competition between the U.S. cattle industry and cattle industries from around the world. It will allow multinational packers to import cattle from Canada, Mexico and South America and put a “Product of the USA” label on the resulting beef. The current U.S. beef trade deficit with TPP countries was nearly $2.8 billion in 2015 alone. This ongoing deficit is weakening the U.S. cattle industry and it will become even weaker if Congress passes the TPP.
With both cattle supplies and beef production so low, and with steady beef demand, cattle prices were expected to remain at historical highs from 2015 until 2018, at which time herd rebuilding was projected to cause prices to gradually subside. But something went terribly wrong.
Recall June 2015 when the U.S. House of Representatives repealed COOL. Up until then fed cattle prices were steady and strong. But in June prices began to tumble and they are still tumbling today. Cattle prices never fell so far or so fast at any other time in the history of our industry.
Just between May – December 2015 U.S. cow/calf producers suffered a loss of over $506 per head. It is even worse now. This wasn’t caused by competitive market fundamentals. No, this was the result of manipulation within our U.S. cattle market.
R-CALF USA asked for an investigation into the cause of the cattle price collapse. The U.S. Comptroller General agreed to conduct the investigation and it is underway right now.
No national organization is fighting harder or more effectively to prevent multinational meatpackers from chickenizing your U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA has been successfully fighting against this for 16 years and we’re likely the only reason you still have independent farmer-feeders bidding against the multinationals for your feeder calves. But we need your support to fight even harder. We are worried that many more independent feeders and producers are continuing to exit our industry following the 2015–2016 price collapse.
Whether you are a small or large cow/calf producer, yearling operator or sheep producer, or a small or large feedlot operator, we work for your economic interests.
R-CALF USA may be defined as a non-profit producer organization, but our work benefits anyone who eats meat and those who live in an economy that includes agriculture. We’re more than a producer organization; we’re your organization.
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