Beef Plan Protest - What happened when a farmer and cattle box arrived at the protest
Yesterday's protest by the Beef Plan Movement outside the Dawn Meats plant in Granagh south Kilkenny showed the organisations members to be very determined.
Having started late, two o’clock, with just eight yellow vested pickets, by nine o’clock that number had swelled to twenty six. Not an insubstantial number given another group was camped not four miles away outside the ABP plant at Christendom in Waterford.
Those first eight successfully persuaded two trucks and a jeep with a large cattle box to eventually turn away.
Their modus operandi was to engage the drivers in conversation and explain that while they would not physically stop any who wished to enter it would be a poor reflection on those drivers if they did. This in all cases brought about a flurry of phone calls as the drivers contacted the various owners of the stock in their charge.
Several farmers who turned up to access the seriousness of the situation in advance of sending cattle for slaughter, all returned home vowing not to send stock until matters had been resolved. The real test however was yet to come.
Around six o’clock a farmer with a cattle box arrived. On board were a couple of bullocks and a bull. By this time the original eight protestors had seen their numbers grow to fifteen with more promised. Emboldened by their earlier success the conversations began to be more rigouress. The farmer explaining that the bull was a dangerous animal and would be a menace if he was to returned home.
Sympathy was expressed but surely, he had heard about the protest and that farmers must stand together. He did not budge. The situation was becoming stressful. He reiterated that the bull was dangerous. Questions as to whether the animal was his own or purchased were answered when he produced the animals blue card proving his ownership.
With their number now at twenty the eight originals found themselves in a minority with the new arrivals more militant and were less willing to broker any concession on entry.
After nearly three hours this farmer relented and headed reluctantly home.
While there can be no doubt about the determination of those involved to improve the lot of beef farmers one badly handled incident could be enough to scupper the best of intentions. The situation at Dawn wasn’t a blockade but it ran the definition in my opinion very close.
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