Judge Lawrence Piersol of the U.S. District Court for the Northern Division of South Dakota ruled that the first of seven arguments presented by R-Calf in their case to obtain an injunction against the importation of cattle and beef from Canada older than 30 months was valid. The argument was that USDA failed to follow its own rules in reopening the Canadian border last November to over 30 month beef. Because the court found that the plaintiffs were likely to prevail on that argument, the rule was remanded back to USDA for a notice of rulemaking and acceptance of public comments on the department's decision.
"We are very pleased with this decision," says R-Calf CEO Bill Bullard. "It gives us the opportunity to address all seven of our arguments within a brand new rulemaking process in which the court is going to be monitoring. We think that is a very positive step, because it would put pressure on the Administration to do things right this time around."
The ruling issued by Judge Piersol does not stop the flow of cattle over 30 months of age from Canada. The rule remains in effect as is while USDA complies with the court's order to promptly proceed with the rulemaking process, but Bullard says this is an opportunity to correct this rule.
"We could regain the prohibition against beef that carries unnecessary risks," Bullard says. "So pending the rulemaking the border stay just as it is, but we have an opportunity now to modify this final rule."