Farmers hit out at Taoiseach's comments, claim it's 'open season' on 'undercutting' meat industry
Farmers claim they are not being afforded a fair hearing as part of an "open season" undercutting beef producers.
They have hit out at comments by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar saying he is trying to reduce red meat in his diet for environmental and health reasons.
Meanwhile, a report in The Lancet medical journal calling for a change in eating behaviours has also been criticised by farmers. Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) president Pat McCormack cited a 2017 survey in the same journal that maintained adults cutting back on fats had shorter lives than those who consumed butter, cheese and meats.
"Were they right in 2017 and wrong now, or is it the other way around?" Mr McCormack said. Last week a new EAT-Lancet Commission report warned that meat consumption worldwide must be slashed by 90pc to tackle climate change, much to the ire of the beef industry here.
Mr McCormack said the warnings to cut meat consumption were at odds with the findings of previous Lancet reports. In 2017 the same journal released a survey of 135,000 adults in high, middle, and low-income countries. It found that those who cut back on fats, such as those found in meats, had far shorter lives than those who consumed butter, cheese and meats.
Last week a Lancet report called for dietary guidelines to be radically changed. It called for the introduction of meat taxes and drastic measures to address health and environmental challenges.
"I don't want to be flippant, but we're constantly being told that our diets are killing us at the same time as we're living longer than ever. Both of those statements can't be right," Mr McCormack told the Sunday Independent.
He added the report's findings were compounded further by Mr Varadkar telling the Dail he was attempting to reduce his intake of red meat.