ICSA is now moving to implement its threat to withdraw from the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme by asking all beef farmers who support this action to sign a petition to that effect. This is due to the fact that from it’s point of view no progress has been made in any of the key issues underlying the current beef crisis,

“All we want is fair play for farmers, and unless we see immediate moves to secure this, factories can forget about the Quality Assurance Scheme,” said ICSA president Patrick Kent.

“We have had enough of making losses on our beef. We have had enough of only getting the QPS bonus on one in four of our Quality Assured animals. We have had enough of the manipulation of the Quality Assured Scheme to destroy the mart trade for heavy cattle, and we are now calling on all farmers and all farm organisations who object to this continued abuse of the QA scheme to stand up and be counted. Our petition is available online right now on our website, www.icsaireland.ie, and can also be signed at the National Ploughing Championships.”

“If the factories don’t want us to follow through on this action, we need to see progress on the key issues outlined below,” continued Mr. Kent.

• A Quality Assurance bonus paid on all Quality Assured animals – after all, they are sold as Quality Assured on the supermarket shelves
• An end to the senseless discrimination against cattle over 30 months old
• Fair play for marts, with an end to artificial restrictions on residency and movements
• A realistic age and weight spec for high quality continental bulls
• An end to the arbitrary changing of specs and pricing systems without consultation with farmer representatives

“It’s not too much to ask that farmers, the primary producers, are treated with fairness and respect and allowed to make a living from their work, and unless that happens, we plan to show the red card to abuse of the Quality Assured Scheme.”

“Of course, it must also be pointed out that if the Government had acted on ICSA’s call for a regulator for the meat industry, we might not find ourselves in this position, and we are again calling on Minister Coveney to address this as a matter of urgency,” concluded Mr. Kent.