Vets call for safe access to work amid ongoing beef protests

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Veterinary Ireland has called on the Department of Agriculture to ensure that vets are not intimidated and have safe access to their place of work.

It comes as the Beef Plan protest moves into its seventh day, with farmers protesting outside meat factories for a 'fairer' price.

Meat factories said some protesters have gone well beyond the guidelines issued by Beef Plan, resulting "in unacceptable abuse and intimidation of fellow farmer suppliers, company employees, government assigned veterinarians and other service providers including hauliers."

The leaders of the Beef Plan said, in response, that the group has issued guidelines to its members but some may "not follow the guidelines but our members have had aggressive behaviour directed at them."

Now, Veterinary Ireland is calling on the Department of Agriculture to ensure a safe working environment for their employees and Veterinary Ireland's members.

Veterinary Ireland chief executive, Finbarr Murphy, said his organisation has received reports of alleged intimidation directed at vets by some farmer protesters at some meat factories.

"Veterinary Ireland issued advice to their members to go to work as normal last week but it can be intimidating for vets to have to pass the protests," Mr Murphy said.

"Veterinary Ireland is calling on the Department of Agriculture to fulfill its obligations and ensure that our members have a safe working environment," he added.

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"The vets have absolute sympathy with the position that beef farmers find themselves in, but our members are legally obliged to go to work," Mr Murphy pointed out.

"Veterinary Ireland is asking that farmers would not use vets as a means of disrupting the factories." 

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