It's been said that corporations have no soul to save and no rear end to kick. Do you believe multinational companies are going to voluntarily label food products when they can outsource cheaper, lower quality products from foreign nations?

The debate over voluntary or mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) comes down to honesty. It is dishonest to allow Canadian or other imported beef to be disguised as American with the USDA stamp of approval. It is dishonest to permit Mexican green onions to be passed off as U.S. product. It is dishonest to market imported citrus fruit or vegetables as U.S.-grown. It is dishonest to pass off Vietnamese-farmed catfish as an American product.

In the American West, our word is our bond… dishonesty is a violation of our principled morals, and we must make it clear that we won't be complicit in a plan that's dishonest. The time for truthful mandatory COOL has arrived.

Isn't it time to ask those who oppose mandatory COOL why they refuse to be honest with consumers? Did they also oppose mandatory accounting reform?

The cost of COOL? Honesty is priceless.
Randy Stevenson
Wheatland, WY

Cruel and unusual punishment

I am against mandatory ID. I am a 50+ farmer, and I don't feel I should add to Bill Gates' pocket because USDA wants me to have a computer. This is an invasion of my time and life.

From what I understand, I'll need to rent or build an office, equip it with computers, palm pilots, faxes, etc., and then hire someone who understands this to record my data.

Maybe knowing where a cow comes from is smart, but it is cruel and unusual punishment to ask farmers, ranchers and sale barn employees to do it.
Joe Davis
Nardin, OK

Editor's Note: No one knows what the system will look like, nor is USDA saying at this point that it will be mandatory. But, it's likely that compliance will be as simple as ear tagging individual animals with an identifier, and then using a pencil to document the numbers for forwarding to a central database.

Of course, individual producers can voluntarily build and utilize a more elaborate system that would collect and document genetic and production information on individual cattle. But, such a system wouldn't be required as part of compliance with a national ID system.