R-CALF USA on Monday filed a notice of appeal in U.S. District Court â€“ District of Montana of an April decision by District Judge Richard F. Cebull that denied the organization's request for a permanent injunction against the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Final Rule. The Final Rule allows imports of cattle under 30 months of age and beef products from cattle younger than 30 months of age into the United States from Canada, a country affected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
A preliminary injunction, granted to R-CALF USA by the District Court in March 2005, was reversed in July 2005 by a three-judge panel at the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. R-CALF USA then asked the District Court to hear argument on its pending motion for summary judgment, but instead Cebull decided, in effect, that the 9th Circuit already had decided the merits of the case. In his April 2006 decision, Cebull says his "hands were tied" and that the 9th Circuit had instructed him to 'abide by this deferential standard,' and 'respect the agency's judgment and expertise.'"
"We remain frustrated that there has never been full consideration of the merits of our case," says R-CALF USA President and Region V Director Chuck Kiker. "The (U.S.) 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in July 2005 that USDA should be given deference in this matter, but there's never been an evaluation of all of the evidence, by either the 9th Circuit or the District Court.
"R-CALF wants the opportunity not only to make certain that USDA's decision-making on this Final Rule gets a thorough review because the agency has continues to make inconsistent statements about BSE risks, but also to make certain that we have the chance to lay out scientific evidence by nationally recognized experts and government agencies," Kiker continues. "We believe the public deserves a full assessment of whether USDA's assumptions were reasonable and whether the agency's decision was explained adequately, and we do not believe the 9th Circuit intended to, or legally could, preclude that from happening.
"We're hoping the 9th Circuit will remand the case back down to Judge Cebull so he can make a decision on the merits of the case," Kiker continues. "Then we'll proceed from there."