Saturday 16 February 2019

'The world has continued until now with people eating what they wanted' - Michael Healy Rae weighs into the meat debate

Claims avoidance of meat is 'crazy' and a fad

Michael Healy-Rae Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Michael Healy-Rae Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Kerry TD Michael Healy Rae has claimed that avoiding meat to help the climate is "crazy" and has become a "fad".

Like his brother Danny, he is vehemently opposed to suggestions that the population should reduce its consumption of meat and dairy.

"You're telling people so that if we don't all stop eating meat, the world is going to end as we know it. I think that's a load of absolute rubbish. I don't mean that in a dismissive way, it's my honest opinion," he said.

"The world has continued up until now with people eating what they wanted to eat, and this seems to be a new fad at the moment, telling people well, it's really all our fault because we're eating too much meat... I think that's crazy."

Mr Healy Rae appeared on RTE Radio One during a sometimes heated debate on veganism and climate change. It follows a new  Eat-Lancet Commission report which warns that meat consumption worldwide must be slashed by 90pc to avert climate catastrophe.

"We're a farming country, the backbone of our history has been agriculture, " he said. "And there is nothing wrong with people eating meat and for people to come out today with a report saying that we should cut back on our meat consumption by 90pc and trying to encourage people to stop drinking milk and using dairy produce, I think that's outrageous."

When it was put to the TD that the report relied on facts while he only held an opinion, he replied: "Well I'll tell you now about science, if you go back on history, there are different people holding different views on facts all throughout the history pages.

"I'm just telling you that I don't agree with it, I'm not going to buy into it."

Michael Healy-Rae pictured outside the Dáil with his brother Danny
Michael Healy-Rae pictured outside the Dáil with his brother Danny

At one point he told presenter Philip Boucher Hayes that you "brought me on to the programme to insult me" and to "ridicule me".

"You're perfectly entitled to do so because you're in charge of the microphone," he said.

"I'm not trying to ridicule you, I'm just trying to hold you to account, " replied Mr Boucher Hayes, who had pointed out that Mr Healy Rae was a lawmaker with certain responsibilities. "If you're factually incorrect, I'm going to correct you," he told the TD.

"We've done this balanced programme nonsense when it comes to climate change for years .... not when it comes to accepted, proven measured facts," said Mr Boucher Hayes. "There is no case to be made for presenting the other side any longer. Now we have to deal with what are we going to do in the future, and you're saying you're going to do nothing."

The debate followed Danny Healy Rae criticising Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who this week admitted he was aiming to cut back on meat consumption.

Danny Healy Rae said workers need a meat-based meal like "bacon and cabbage" to get them through the day.

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