Beef Plan to MII: Farmers are ‘not obliged’ to sell cattle to factories

The Beef Plan Movement has issued a response to Meat Industry Ireland (MII) amid ongoing farmer protests outside meat factories – highlighting that its beef farmer members are “not obliged” to sell their cattle and have “no contractual requirements” to do so.

The farmer organisation added that any disruption caused to MII members by ongoing demonstrations is something that processors “will have to manage in the running of their businesses”.

MII – the Ibec representative group for Irish meat processors – issued a statement to the Beef Plan Movement on Thursday, August 1, outlining its “willingness to engage in a constructive manner” – but refusing to do so while current disruption continues.

Also Read: MII hits out at Beef Plan for ‘failure to ensure adherence to protocols’

In a response sent to MII, seen by AgriLand, Beef Plan negotiator Eoin Donnelly wrote the following to MII chairman Philip Carroll:

“Thank you for replying to the email that was sent to [MII director Cormac] Healy the morning of Tuesday, July 30.

Contact

“In that email contact details were shared with Mr. Healy as having failed to receive a courtesy response to a voice message left for him on Monday, July 29; we wanted to ensure that he had the appropriate contact information should he wish to make contact with us.

“Can you please confirm if we should continue to contact you on this matter or Mr. Joe Ryan who sent the correspondence signed by you dated July 31 – we consider it important that there is no ambiguity on who we should be in contact with.

“Please note that we have from the outset requested from MII on behalf of the processor industry members you represent a proposal outlining what your members intend to do that returns a cost of production plus a margin to beef farmers in the context that the consumer is now paying more for beef in the shops while the farmer is being paid considerably less.

Market Price

“Please note that we have at no time asked you to discuss the market price (price per kg) paid by your members and we see no reason why your proposal should contain this information.

“It is regrettable that your letter – much of the content of which we disagree with – gives no indication what your members intend to do, with respect to policy or technical issues.

It is our position that our members are not obliged to sell the cattle that they own to your members as they have no contractual requirement to do so.

“Any disruption to your members as a consequence of our members supporting our protest by not selling the cattle that they own is something that your members will have to have to manage in the course of running their businesses.

“We consider it somewhat disappointing that your opening correspondence contains the precondition that you will not engage while we continue to protest,” the statement said.

“Should you at any time choose to remove this self-imposed precondition we are available to talk,” the Beef Plan response concluded.

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