May 25, 2004 

The Honorable Robert Goodlatte 

The Honorable Charles Stenholm 
Ranking Member 

Committee on Agriculture 
U.S. House of Representatives 
Washington, D.C. 20215 

Dear Congressmen Goodlatte and Stenholm: 

We understand that legislation is being drafted that would replace the existing mandatory labeling for lamb with voluntary provisions. Our organization has a long-standing policy supporting mandatory labeling. 

On behalf of the board of directors of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), we respectfully ask that lamb be excluded from legislation that would establish voluntary country of origin labeling in lieu of mandatory provisions. 

The sheep industry is greatly appreciative of your leadership and strong support of American lamb and wool producers. We are proud of the fact that our support of mandatory country-of-origin labeling has remained steadfast, a unified message to Congress year after year. 

It is truly regretful to see the increasing level of criticism by some organizations of good people for their sincere belief for or against mandatory labeling yet all have a goal of doing what is best for farmers and ranchers. We have consistently relayed our support of mandatory labeling, yet we believe we have done so in a patient and respectful manner. We ask for every consideration that lamb is removed from this debate and allow us to go forward with mandatory labeling. 

The U.S lamb industry does not have the magnitude of complex issues such as the degree of mixed ground product nor the degree of live slaughter animal imports. The lamb industry has, therefore attained a high degree of acceptance in the feeding and processing segments for mandatory labeling. 

I thank you in advance for consideration of this request. 


Guy Flora 

C: ASI Board of Directors 
State Association leaders