“Any attempts to cull our environmentally-sustainable traditional suckler herds will not be tolerated,” according to the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA).

This was the message that the farm organisation conveyed in a letter to the leader of the Green Party Eamon Ryan.

INHFA president Colm O’Donnell outlined in the letter that the recent advice given by the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) to Government targeting non-profitable suckler herds as a means to reduce overall Green House Gas (GHG) emissions coming from agriculture “was ill-advised and ill-informed”.

O’Donnell said that, “before targeting suckler herds, due diligence needs to take place as to the role extensive sustainable suckler cow farming systems play in enhancing biodiversity and grazing for carbon”.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Council (JRC) recently produced a report indicating that cattle grazed at sustainable levels is a huge benefit in grazing permanent grasslands for carbon, the INHFA president highlighted.

The INHFA urged the Green Party to reflect and have regard for the ‘polluter pays principal’ (PPP) of the Treaty for the Functioning of the European Union.

This is a precautionary principle to deal with the source of pollutants, the farm organisation said.

The letter concluded by reminding the Green Party that “it’s not the cow – it’s the how”.