‘We have an industry that was in complete denial until now’ – Beef Plan

A member of the Beef Plan Movement has said: “We have an industry that was in complete denial about the state of the industry until now.”

Speaking on RTÉ‘s Morning Ireland, David Whelehan from the Co. Westmeath branch of the Beef Plan Movement said: “Outside of pricing – which is a real issue – there are other issues within the industry also.”

Whelehan described certain regulations placed on beef farmers by processors and retailers as being “backed up by no scientific facts and having a negative effect on the price” that beef farmers receive for their animals.

He explained: “We would deem these issues as anti-competitive and believe there is no basis for them. There is no evidence to back up that they are actually required.

“It leaves it in such a state that there is actually no transparency or no level playing field for the primary producer.

“What happens is when there’s market volatility or market disturbance, with the anti-competitive practices that are there, there is no protection for the primary producer.

All these disturbances are passed back down on them [the farmer] while the processor and the retailer retain the largest market share at the end retail price.

“Unfortunately, the situation within our industry is that we have a membership-base that is facing financial ruin.”

Concluding, Whelehan said: “All the farmers within our membership want is a fair share of the end retail price.

“We don’t want handouts, we just want to be paid fairly for what we produce and I think in this day and age it’s not too much to ask.”