When a popular, common-sense law like COOL is declared illegal by an anonymous tribunal of the World Trade Organization, you have to wonder what U.S. law is next.

Today’s WTO ruling on country-of-origin labels aims to prevent American consumers from knowing where their meat was born, raised, and processed. This is a sad day for consumer choice and the independent livestock producers of this country. As one neighbor put it: ‘This is fraud, what do those meat packers have to hide?’

When trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement, commonly referred to as NAFTA, and the WTO undermine U.S. laws like COOL, it becomes very clear how the rights of citizens to govern themselves have been traded away. This WTO ruling shows the degree to which international corporations now control our economy and political process through undemocratic non-transparent trade agreements.

If Congress ‘fast tracks’ the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that is currently in negotiation, we will see even more actions by transnational corporations to use the WTO to overturn democratically enacted laws like COOL.

However, the process and the fight is not over. There is still time for a solution that gives American consumers the information they demand. We ask that Congress make no changes to COOL and let the full WTO dispute process play out.

Congress and the Obama administration should stand in solidarity with the American people, and independent cattle producers, and not back down.

Gilles Stockton

Western Organization of Resource Councils

Grass Range

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