Industry Begins Legal Drive To Overturn EEC Hormone Ban
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ A group of European chemical companies announced Thursday it has launched a legal campaign to overturn the European Economic Community’s ban on the use of hormones in livestock production.
The group, called the European Federation of Animal Health, said its drive opened with a lawsuit against Luxembourg to force the country to allow the sale of hormone implants.
Michael Leathes, the group’s leader, said the member companies have set up a ″large defense fund″ to take legal action in all 12 EEC member states, if necessary.
″The hormone ban is going to become a rather active issue,″ Leathes told a press conference. ″We will not stop in Luxembourg; similar actions will follow in Germany and elsewhere.″
At issue is the EEC’s ban on the use of hormones in livestock and on the imports of hormone-containing meat.
The ban, which was adopted by the EEC in December 1985, will take effect Jan. 1, 1988.
The federation maintains the ban is unjustified on health and safety grounds and was imposed for purely political motives.
The ban has met with a wave of protest from the United States, which considers the measure as protectionist. It would halt the import of about 130 million dollars worth of U.S. meat to Europe.
Top U.S. and EEC trade officials are scheduled to meet in London next week in an attempt to defuse a potentially bruising transatlantic trade row.
Leathes, who is a British lawyer, said filing the lawsuit in Luxembourg was a procedural move to get the case into the EEC Court of Justice ″through the back door.″ He explained the EEC rules barred the companies from going directly to the Community tribunal.
He said the aim of the legal action is to overturn the ban and to obtain a ruling preventing the EEC from legislating without adequate scientific proof.