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Court Hears Oral Arguments on Injunction for COOL Labeling Rules

Attorneys for some North American livestock associations and the Justice Department argued before the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Jan. 9 as to the proper First Amendment standard to apply to controversial country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules for meat. The American Meat Institute, North American Meat Association and other groups want Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Judges Sri Srinivasan and Stephen Williams to reverse the D.C. District Court, which rejected a motion to preliminarily enjoin the rules. That court ruled the plaintiffs had failed to show either a likelihood of success on the merits or irreparable harm stemming from the rules. The rules in question require that origin designations for muscle-cut-covered commodities from animals slaughtered in the US specify the production steps of birth, raising and slaughter of the animal from which the meat is derived. Canada and Mexico are challenging the rules before the World Trade Organization (WTO). The court took the case under submission.

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