Climate change activists back farmers at major rural protest

A number of climate change activists came out in support of farmers at a multi farm-lobby-group-led protest in Dublin this week.

The climate change group, Extinction Rebellion Ireland, attended the rally that was organised by the Beef Plan Movement in opposition to the EU-Mercosur trade deal – a move that could see 99,000t of beef and 180,000t of poultry meat from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay introduced to the EU market over the coming years.

Members of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA), as well as “individual members” from the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) also attended the more than 2,000-strong march outside Leinster House last Wednesday, July 10.

The climate change campaigners called on the Government to provide “real support to help farmers diversify and play their part in addressing the biodiversity and climate emergency”.

A spokesperson for the group said it “strongly condemns” the trade deal between the EU and the South American bloc – where vast swathes of the Amazon rainforest are being pillaged to make room for animal agriculture.

At a time when Europe should be focusing all its efforts on a just climate transition, any deal which exacerbates climate change and biodiversity loss must be rejected.

The group is calling for “a just transition” whereby the most vulnerable are “not expected to sacrifice the most”.

The spokesperson said farmers have been “hit hard on numerous fronts – from Brexit to Mercosur”.

“Beef and sheep farmers find it next to impossible to make a decent living, yet the Irish state has prioritised dairy expansion above all else – irrespective of the consequences for other farmers or for the environment,” the spokesperson concluded.

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