Beef Plan Protest: What questions the Beef Plan wants Meat Industry Ireland to answer

Members of the Beef Plan Movement handed ABP Bandon a list of questions. Picture Denis Boyle
Members of the Beef Plan Movement handed ABP Bandon a list of questions. Picture Denis Boyle
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The Beef Plan Movement gave a list of questions to ABP Bandon today, asking for a meeting with Meat Industry Ireland for the purpose of coming up with a solution to end the protest, which is in its fourth day.

It also asks how farmers are to make a living at €3.50/kg with animals losing €150-200/head.

The Group also asks how much the so-called fifth quarter is making and asks factories to declare how many cattle they have in feed lots.

It also asks why has the price of beef animals dropped by 8pc in the last year when the price in the supermarket has gone up by 1pc. "Where is that 9pc gone? Is is the supermarket or retailer getting this extra margin?"

The list of questions goes on to ask whether farmers are expected to finish cattle this winter without a forward price.

"If a customer today buys €10 of beef, is it fair that the farmer gets €2 out of that €10 for two year's work, while the processor gets €3 for three day's work and the retailer gets €5 for three days work. This is totally unjust."

It also asks if factories are paying extra money for those willing to pass the picket this week. Meat Industry Ireland has been contacted for comment. 

Protests

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It comes as the Beef Plan Movement scales up its protests outside six beef plants around the country amid a deepening crisis in the beef sector.

Beef farmers are taking a hit of €4m a week with prices back significantly on last year and the Beef Plan Movement is calling for a greater return for farmers of the retail price and a meeting with the processors.

However, meat factories have warned beef prices could fall further as beef farmers hold protests at a number of processing plants over a deepening crisis in the sector.

Meat Industry Ireland, which represents the processors, warned that UK retailers are increasingly unwilling to confirm their beef needs for the autumn as the uncertainty of Brexit continues to weigh on the market.

"I don't deny the fact that farmers are under significant pressure and the price paid today is reflective of the market and disrupting normal processing activity is not going to help," he said.

According to the Beef Plan its protests are "peaceful and it is not stopping produce from going into factories, but they are asking farmers to think twice before they take cattle to the factory".  

The Group’s Chairman Hugh Doyle said the group will continue to protest for as long as it takes.

“We will scale it up as the week goes on and if there is no engagement from the factories then we stay there. We are trying to raise awareness that the industry as we know it is broken and we have to all sit around a table and find a way to fix it.

“We have to start realising that the way we sell our product is not working.”

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