Texas Farmers Union 
Disappointed in House COOL Vote

WACO (July 23, 2003) - Texas Farmers Union President Wes Sims expressed his disappointment with the U.S. House of Representatives narrow defeat of legislation to uphold mandatory country-of-origin meat labeling by a narrow margin this past week.

The House rejected by a 15-vote margin an amendment to the fiscal year 2004 agriculture appropriations bill that Reps. Dennis Rehberg, R-Mont., and Darlene Hooley, D-Ore., introduced to protect implementation funding for mandatory country-of-origin labeling for beef, pork, lamb and fish. Without the amendment, the house bill essentially prevents the U.S. Department of Agriculture from implementing meat labeling by the September 2004 deadline.

Texas Farmers Union, and the farmers and ranchers it represents, appreciate those Representative's voting yes commitment to the mandatory country-of-origin labeling law, Sims said. "Consumers in Texas and across the country want to know where their food is produced and U.S. farmers and ranchers want to provide that information."

To those Representative's voting no against country-of-origin labeling "Farmers Union encourages them to reconsider this position, join the bipartisan group of representatives that support country-of-origin labeling, and work with others in the House and Senate to strike the language from the appropriations bill during conference committee consideration," stated Sims.

"This fight is not over. Despite strong opposition from the House majority leadership, President Bush, Agriculture Secretary Veneman and meatpackers, support for COOL continues to build in the countryside," Sims said. "Consumers want it, independent farmers and ranchers want it, and Japan, "our number one beef customer," wants it. Congress needs to work with USDA to make sure they get it."

Texas Farmers Union, P.O. Box 738, Sweetwater, Tx 79556