McCormack: ‘It seems to be open season on farmers’

It seems to be ‘open season’ on farmers and farming at present. Farmers are entitled to a fair hearing before they are undercut in the manner that is so prevalent at present.

This was the reaction from the president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), Pat McCormack, in light of the fall-out following the release of The Lancet-EAT report.

McCormack noted that in 2017 the same journal, The Lancet, released a survey of 135,000 adults who maintained that those who cut back on fats had far shorter lives than those who consumed butter, cheese and meats.

There was, he said, a certain inconsistency in the way these types of surveys were being presented.

I don’t want to be flippant, but we’re constantly being told that our diets are killing us at the same time as we’re living longer than ever.

“There’s another point that has to be made – and that’s without even mentioning the 200,000 Irish jobs that depend on our farming and agri-food sectors.

“If it’s a global problem then the response must be global. That’s going to mean a global move towards producing specific foods in the specific locations most scientifically suitable with least environmental stress.

“In Ireland’s case that means dairy – where we are the most environmentally sustainable on the planet – and beef, where we are in the top five.

What’s the point in hampering our production that’s then diverted to producers that have much more environmentally damaging systems?

Concluding, McCormack drew attention to the current EU carbon-emission figures.

“Farming in the EU produces around 10% of total carbon emissions whereas energy produces over 80%.

“When are we going to hear the proposals for the energy-production sector that’s responsible for eight times more carbon emissions than the food sector?”