US: Beef producers launch legal challenge to USDA
A lobby group representing beef producers, Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America, (R-CALF USA), is attempting to block the US Department of Agriculture's minimal risk rule (Final Rule) in the Montana District Court.
In January 2005, the USDA issued the minimal risk rule, which dealt with opening the United States' borders to cattle and beef products from countries affected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). In March 2005, the District Court issued a preliminary injunction, effectively blocking the import of cattle and certain beef products. However, when the USDA appealed the ruling in July 2005, the injunction was overthrown, reopening the border to live cattle under 30 months of age and beef from cattle under 30 months of age.
However, R-CALF USA argues that this decision does not eliminate the need for oral arguments of the case and a ruling by the District Court on the summary judgment motions filed by both R-CALF USA and USDA.
"We're asking the District Court to resume its consideration of our case, and in our motion we've pointed out the numerous inconsistencies in USDA's actions that warrant a careful, critical review," said R-CALF USA president Leo McDonnell.
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