‘Sheep farmers being turned away from factory gates’ – ICSA chairman
For now, the Beef Plan Movement has suspended its nationwide rally outside meat factories.
After 12 days and nights of protests outside 22 factories, the Beef Plan Movement and Meat Industry Ireland (MII) accepted compromise proposals put forward by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, aimed at breaking the ongoing impasse between the two parties.
It has been agreed that all protests at meat processing plants and legal proceedings are to be suspended with immediate effect until the agreed talks have concluded.
These talks resumed today, August 19, in an effort to resolve the ongoing dispute between beef farmers and beef processors over the price farmers are paid for their cattle.
While these talks are on-going, the Beef Plan Movement has agreed to suspend its protest outside factory gates.
However, while the Beef Plan was successful in reducing the slaughtering capacity of beef processing facilities by nearly 50% – if we compare the kill to the previous week – sheep slaughtering capacity was also greatly impacted as a result of the recent protests.
And, according to Sean McNamara – the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association’s (ICSA’s) chairman – “farmers are being discriminated against by factories”.
He said: “I urge factories not to discriminate against farmers who took part in recent factory protests.
“It has come to our attention that many sheep farmers are being treated less favorably by several meat processors, as a direct result of having participated in the recent protests.
It must be remembered that farmers had no choice but to take to those factory gates in order to be heard.
“Matters had reached a breaking point and all those who took their grievances to the factory gates must be commended,” he added.
“Factories engaging in this type of retribution tactics is akin to kicking a man when he’s down. Punishing farmers who engaged in peaceful protests in this way is unacceptable.
“It is simply an underhanded tactic to deter farmers from returning to the factory gates should the need arise,” he concluded.