Attorneys for R-CALF USA have filed a petition with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals requesting a rehearing of that court's decision to overturn the preliminary injunction entered by Judge Cebull in the Montana District Court.
R-CALF wants a rehearing on the opinion handed down by a three-judge panel in July that allowed the U.S. to resume imports of live Canadian cattle and additional beef products, despite the recent detection of four cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada under limited testing.
In March, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana had granted R-CALF USA a preliminary injunction to keep the border closed to imports due to Canada's problems with BSE. USDA appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit, and on July 14, a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit reversed the preliminary injunction.
R-CALF USA's petition states that the three-judge "panel's conclusion that the Secretary of Agriculture has a vast amount of discretion to allow imports of pest-infested or diseased animals and animal products, and the panel's proffered findings about the underlying facts in this case, create a precedent that is highly prejudicial to the public's right to judicial review of critical decisions affecting U.S. agriculture and its consumers. Moreover, since the statutory authority at issue here is very similar to other statutes giving the Agriculture Secretary responsibility for preventing imports of pests and diseases affecting plants and unsafe food, the decision creates a precedent that also could be applied to limit judicial review of critical USDA actions under those other statutes."
The petition also states: 'The three-judge panel attempted a detailed review of facts not even fully developed in the district court, nor fully presented on appeal, and as a result, the panel missed or misunderstood numerous key aspects of this case.'
"Because this case involves questions of national importance and because consideration by the full court is necessary to maintain consistency among the court's decisions, we hope the full court will agree that a rehearing is warranted," says Bill Bullard, R-CALF CEO.
It won't be known until the end of September whether a rehearing will take place.