Agribusiness Freedom Foundation  
Home arrow Sentinel e-Newsletter arrow April 2007 arrow R-CALF Policy: Conflict, Contortions & Self-Inflicted Wounds
Main Menu
About AFF
Latest Op/Ed Release
Sentinel e-Newsletter
Newsletter Signup
Staff Bios
Make A Contribution
Contact Us
R-CALF Policy: Conflict, Contortions & Self-Inflicted Wounds PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
AFF Sentinel Vol.4#10

Those Wounds Spread Infection to the Rest of the Industry

"We need to quit taking things out of context and to quit citing only the portion of bylaws and policy that support the individual positions we want to champion," R-CALF Director Jon Wooster e-mailed CEO Bill Bullard and fellow directors (02/08/07).

Quotes are from, the R-CALF expos? Web site.

We guess it's expecting too much of demagogues to see themselves. Half-truths and out-of-context arguments are typical R- CALF tactics. Wooster evidently doesn't recognize the tactic, but he knows he doesn't like it when it's used against his side.

Wooster had some other advice for the board:

He quoted R-CALF Resolution FS 2004-1:

Members of R-CALF USA reaffirm that consumer safety and confidence in beef is our highest priority [Wooster's underlining.] R- CALF USA confirms its intention to work with the Administration and Congress to make a good food security system even more secure. R-CALF USA is generally supportive of the initial steps taken by USDA to address the one case of mad cow (BSE) discovered..." "...and we support efforts continue the high level of consumer confidence in the U.S. food supply.

R-CALF's blatant attacks on consumer confidence and the safety of U.S. beef during the early months of the BSE-border dispute was the outrage that made many cattlemen realize it wasn't just the cow in Washington state that was mad. There is no way to reconcile the resolution wording above and R- CALF's subsequent behavior.

Wooster didn't explain how R-CALF's appearance onstage at a news conference with Nader's Public Citizen, the Consumer Federation of America's Carol Tucker Foreman and Consumer's Union, casting doubt on the safety of America's food supply complied with this resolution's call for supporting consumer confidence. Those groups are long-time adversaries of the beef industry. He also didn't explain how "work with the Administration" translates into filing lawsuits against USDA.

Resolution FS 2004-1 continues:

"R-CALF USA will work ...avoiding adding unnecessary costs and other burdens on participants in the food supply chain ... We continue to support mandatory country of origin labeling to provide important information to consumers ..."

Even their resolutions conflict within themselves. This one calls for avoiding unnecessary costs and burdens and yet demands the most expensive production chain overhaul in history -- to provide almost no useful information to consumers.

"We [R-CALF leadership and staff] ... owe it to familiarize ourselves with 100 percent of our by-laws and resolutions, and to study our lawsuit until we have a complete understanding of the entire procedure ... the cattle industry is complex ..." Wooster continued.

He is referring to the leadership's failure to adhere to policy resolutions or by-law procedures. But he does not address the long list of unintended consequences of R- CALF's actions. Never in all the communications on do any of them express any understanding or remorse for those actions. Wooster's admission that the "cattle industry is complex" is the first hint from them that there is a world out there beyond their ranch gate.

Examining the list of consequences - intended or unintended - of the actions of groups like R-CALF and the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) is always puzzling. That is because it is hard to tell if they flatly can't see far enough to visualize consequences to others in the production chain; whether they see them but pretend not to, to avoid facing up to others' costs and pain; or whether they see them, delight in them and enjoy the opportunity to inflict pain on those they see as the enemy.

We think some of the leaders see farther than they let on - and take advantage of those in the rank-and-file who do not - for political power. But many of the comments and writings of some of their leaders indicate they just don't see - or care about - the big picture. So the list of consequences for things like their stretching out of the Canadian border closure hardly exists in their minds: the loss of sales for packers, the loss of packers and consequent loss of buyers for feedyards, the loss of feedyard customers for ranchers' calves, the loss of packer buyers for slaughter cows, the boost to competing Canadian packing capacity, the months of underutilization of American packing plants, the financial weakening of packers, the assaults on consumer confidence in beef, the encouraging of beef industry adversarial activists, etc.. etc.

It certainly isn't what we regard as vision for the industry.

Next time: More on Self-Inflicted Wounds

Email your comments to the author


Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 May 2007 )
< Previous   Next >
designed by