Producers Appeal for Changes to M-COOL

CANADA - The Canadian and Mexican cattle and swine industries are appealing for small changes to US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling to restore the movement of cattle and hogs throughout North America, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 20 May 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Last week delegations representing the Canadian and Mexican beef and pork industries traveled to Washington to bring US decision makers up to date on the impact Mandatory COOL is having on farmers throughout North America.

Manitoba Pork Council general Manager Andrew Dickson says the goal was to outline the impact COOL is having on producers in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico and the unease suggestions the law might be extended is creating and to call for small changes in wording that would make the labelling law compliant with existing US trade law.

Andrew Dickson-Manitoba Pork Council

COOL has already reduced farmers' incomes.

In the pig industry we know that there's only one processor left now in the United States that's prepared to take Category B animals and finished animals are being accepted at a significant discount compared to other American pigs.

The cattle producers are experiencing the same thing.

The Mexican delegation, for example, pointed out that they were having increasing difficulties for their cow-calf operators who sell hundreds of thousands of calves into the southern US into feedlots are experiencing either complete withdrawal of purchasing by American feedlots or significant discounts.

I pointed out that, in our discussions for example in Manitoba, that our weanling industry is under severe difficulties in terms of trying to find markets for its weanlings as a result of COOL.

There's some sympathy in some quarters for this and they understood the impact.

In others our concerns were, to be honest with you, dismissed.

Mr Dickson suggests it's important for American farmers who have been impacted by the legislation to contract their congressional representatives and let them know that it's time small changes were made to allow them to continue to do business as a North American market.

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