Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has written to the Beef Plan Movement to state its “willingness to engage in a constructive manner” – but will not do so while current disruption continues.
The current Beef Plan protests which are geared towards disrupting the normal and orderly marketing of beef and lamb “will do nothing to resolve the challenges in the marketplace nor the predicament of hard-pressed producers”, according to the meat industry representative group.
In a statement today, Thursday, August 1, MII, on behalf of beef processing companies, said it understands the frustration of beef producers with current price returns.
However, it again emphasised that this is driven by extremely poor sales demand in export markets in the UK and across continental Europe at a time when there appears to be strong beef supplies in the EU market.
“Furthermore, the real prospect of a no-deal outcome to Brexit in three months’ time has fundamentally disturbed market equilibrium,” the group added in the statement.
“MII accepts the right of suppliers to organise a peaceful protest.
It notes the protest guidelines which Beef Plan published as a guide to its members and expresses disappointment at the failure of Beef Plan leadership to ensure adherence to its own protocols.
“Indeed, the behaviour of some protesters at certain sites has gone well beyond the guidelines issued by Beef Plan,” the representative body said.
Such behaviour, it was added, “has resulted in unacceptable abuse and intimidation of fellow farmer suppliers, company employees, government-assigned veterinarians and other service providers including hauliers”, the group claimed.
“We understand that these protests are geared towards disrupting the normal and orderly marketing of beef and lamb, but we cannot see how this course will resolve the challenges in the marketplace nor the predicament of hard-pressed producers who wish to sell their livestock for processing.
MII has written to Beef Plan stating its willingness to engage with its leadership in a constructive manner but will not do so while the protests and disruption continue.
“MII once again calls on Beef Plan, in the wider interest of the beef sector, to reflect on the wisdom of the current campaign and, in particular, the considerable damage being caused to the beef sector at all levels,” the industry representative group concluded.