‘We can meet climate targets without cutting herd size’ – Creed

Minister Michael Creed has said that there is “no question of capping or reducing the national herd size”.

The minister was speaking on Newstalk today, Monday, November 18, after announcing the opening of a public consultation process on a new ‘roadmap’ for the agriculture and agri-food sectors in terms of their targets under the Climate Action Plan.

Minister Creed argued that, if the steps outlined in the proposals under this plan are followed, then there should not be a need for capping or cutting the size of the national herd.

I think the roadmap is very clear about this. Livestock and fertiliser use are the key drivers of agricultural emissions. We have published detailed proposals that can enable us to meet those targets without impacting on the size of the national herd.

However, he highlighted the need for stakeholders to play their part in the climate mitigation plans, including farmers and the agri-food processing sector.

“It has to be said that this will require a comprehensive buy-in by all stakeholders, including all of our individual farmers, and if we do that, I’m confident that we can meet those targets without impacting on the herd size,” the minister argued.

On the issue of capping current herd sizes, Minister Creed pointed out that: “I don’t think there’s anybody talking about any substantial increase in the herd any longer. There may be a transition from one herd enterprise to another over a period, but there’s no question of capping or reducing the herd size.

The Paris [Climate] Accord talks about meeting our climate targets without compromising sustainable food production. If we are among the most efficient, and that is our ambition in this plan – to be the most efficient, whether it’s in dairy or beef or any other enterprise – why then would you begin to dismantle our herd?

“The clear consequence of this roadmap is that we will not have to contemplate reducing the herd size or capping the herd size,” the minister insisted. However, he stressed that, if Ireland does not meet its targets under the Paris accord, then “that policy option moves into centre stage”.

“But I’m confident that we can meet those targets by embracing all of the actions that are in the draft roadmap as published,” he reiterated.