ABP has refuted allegations from the ICSA regarding the introduction of new terms and conditions for non-British origin cattle in the UK.

It says the terms and conditions referenced by the ICSA regarding non-British cattle have not changed and have been in place for the last number of years.

The ICSA has accused the ABP group of colluding with UK supermarkets to completely undermine any prospect of live exports of cattle to the UK.

It says that ABP is introducing a new price grid in England which imposes a £1 Sterling/kg (€1.42/kg) cut for cattle finished in England which were born in Ireland.

According to the ICSA Beef Chairman, Edmond Phelan, this new price grid will have a negative impact on live exports of cattle coming forward from Ireland.

News that the ABP group are introducing a new price grid in England which imposes a £1 sterling/ kg cut for cattle finished in England but which were born in Ireland is shocking.

“It is manifestly a blatant attempt by retailers and processors to kill off any prospects of live exports and the motivation is to keep farmers in chains,” he said.

According to Phelan, claims made by retailers in the UK that their consumers cannot accept cattle reared in Ireland are unfounded.

“Where is the independent consumer research to back up this claim?

Consumers in Italy, who can hardly be described as less discerning than British consumers, have no difficulty,” he added.

Furthermore, he added that beef processors are doing everything to close these live export markets to the UK.

“It is clear that ICSA’s success in getting a live route opened by Stena to the UK has caused concern among beef processors who are doing everything in their power to close live exports.”

The ICSA’s Beef Chairman also said that the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney should focus on opening up as many live export markets as possible.

“It is clear that Minister Coveney needs to take a very strong line on this.

It is absolutely futile to be out in Africa or anywhere else trying to open new markets for beef when the processors are trying to take away any prospect of a reasonable margin for cattle producers in this country.

“ICSA is now calling on the Minister to suspend all efforts to open up new markets for beef and to instead concentrate on opening up as many live export markets as possible,” he said.