Over 7,000 farmers sign petition in opposition to the 4-movement rule

Over 7,000 farmers nationwide have signed a petition in opposition to the 4-movement rule for cattle enforced by meat processing plants.

The petition is being led by a fledgling farm lobby group called the Irish Family Farm Rights Group, or the Farm Rights Group (FRG) for short.

The Irish factory Quality Payment System (QPS) penalises more than four movements of livestock between farms prior to slaughter. This rule is reportedly in place for quality and animal welfare reasons.

It is just one of a variety of issues that the group is hoping to address for farmers on the ground, according to FRG managing director Thomas Gunning.

Farmers are fuming over it; factories are using this rule to their own advantage. If cattle are plentiful, they could turn cattle with over four movements away. But when cattle are scare they don’t care about movements.

“Around the ring at marts, farmers are hesitant to bid for cattle with three or four movements,” he said.

With close to half the marts in Ireland visited to date, Gunning claims that the group has close to a 99.9% success rate when it comes to asking farmers to sign the petition.

FRG is led by Gunning, from Co. Roscommon, and chairman Donie Shine, from Co. Cork. The board of the group is also made up of: Michael Moore, Co. Limerick; David Doyle, Co. Cork; and Denise Lohan, Co. Galway.

Upcoming meetings

Speaking to AgriLand, Gunning outlined that the FRG has two upcoming meetings. One will take place tonight in the Landmark Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, at 8:30pm.

Meanwhile, a similar meeting will take in the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris, Co. Mayo, on Thursday, November 30, at 8:30pm.

During the course of the meeting, a variety of issues will be discussed. High on the agenda, will be a discussion surrounding the demise of the suckler cow in Ireland, Gunning said.

Factories are now giving out about the quality of cattle coming in from the dairy herd. But when they had suckler farmers there they treated them badly. The factories are their own worst enemies at times.

By talking to farmers on the ground on a continuing basis, Gunning believes that the FRG is in tune with what farmers want and what issues need to be tackled the most.

Membership

The group is in the process of seeking membership, which it has set at €80/year. Gunning is confident that farmers across the country will be willing to support FRG.

Other topics that the FRG is keen to address is: the allocation of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments; the crisis facing tillage farmers; the current lamb trade; fair pricing systems for farm produce; calendar farming; forestry issues; and more.

Concluding, Gunning said: “If you go into a mart now, you won’t find too many farmers smiling.” The FRG is hoping to ease the pressure felt by farmers, by fighting their corner on the important issues.

Those interested in finding out more about FRG can find them on Facebook. Alternatively you can contact Thomas Gunning on: 087-6116749 or Donie Shine on: 086-8149970.