Wednesday 17 July 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Politicians must reject this beef deal that favours barons'

'Let us hope that all farming interests, and others, support the Beef Plan Movement when it holds a national protest outside the Dáil on Wednesday at noon.' Stock image
'Let us hope that all farming interests, and others, support the Beef Plan Movement when it holds a national protest outside the Dáil on Wednesday at noon.' Stock image
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

The beef deal, part of the EU Mercosur trade deal with four South American countries, has all the attributes of a time-bomb. Every  politician in Ireland must force our weak Government to oppose it and to use our veto power within the EU.

Let us hope that all farming interests, and others, support the Beef Plan Movement when it holds a national protest outside the Dáil on Wednesday at noon.

Ours is an open economy. This is a good reason why we must unite to fight such a major threat to all of us. Small-scale beef farmers are already an endangered species. They are over-regulated and under-paid. Our beef-processing barons keep the prices they pay for cattle at a low level and they are the ones who sell on the processed beef at big profits.

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Falling prices won’t worry them as they will enjoy economies of scale.

We are being told that we must cut back on beef and replace it with forestry. At the same time, Brazil is chopping down large swathes of the most environmentally sensitive forests in the world. The aim is to turn these areas into major ranches producing cheap beef.

The Mercosur talks can be viewed as a case of beef barons talking to beef barons, with no consideration for the small guy who can, undoubtedly, produce the best quality beef in the world, in optimum open grassy fields.

As in so many other areas, Ireland Inc is showing itself incapable of long-term strategic planning. At the end of World War II, Britain realised that it needed to protect its long-term food security. President Trump’s sabre-rattling could cause a world-wide trade war.

We need to boost our agriculture and to be ready for any eventuality. Every beef farmer in Ireland, every rural dweller, every citizen of Ireland, must tell our political parties that if they fail to defend our beef production and our agriculture, then the party is over for them.

Cllr Des Guckian

Dromod, Co Leitrim

Taoiseach will be forgiven for his remarks about priests

What a holy show by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil when he compared Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to a ‘sinning Catholic priest’. Now, we have heard of singing priests and saintly priests, but this was a horse of a different colour.

He not only shot himself in the foot with these comments, but insulted many thousands of supporters into the bargain.

He did subsequently apologise for these utterances and withdrew them, but they have left a sour taste. No doubt with the passage of time he will be forgiven for causing much offence, as the message of forgiveness is what all these men of the cloth live, and preach daily to their congregations.

I am sure Mr Varadkar now regrets those unfortunate comments. It was a grave error on his part, but one he will recover from in due course.

Tom Towey

Cloonacool, Co Sligo

RTÉ understated level of abuse in greyhound racing

I’ve been reading comments on pro-greyhound industry sites and it seems that the racing/coursing fans are hoping that the controversy over the ‘RTÉ Investigates’ programme on greyhound racing will die down after a few weeks.

I think they’re mistaken.

The horrifying truth exposed by that first-rate piece of investigative journalism has severely eroded the credibility of an industry that depends heavily on over-breeding of dogs, massive culling (whether by gunshot, humane killing, or the whack of a shovel), and State hand-outs that could be diverted to worthy causes or projects.

People who talk about “a few bad apples” giving the industry a bad name are missing the point. The industry exists for profit and gambling…not for the benefit of greyhounds. If anything, the RTÉ programme may have understated the level of abuse in the industry.

An issue not covered, for example, was blooding, the practice whereby greyhound trainers feed live animals to greyhounds to enhance their performance on the track or coursing field.

In 1994, an undercover reporter filmed leading greyhound industry figures attending a blooding session at a track in Co Tipperary.

The footage has recently been posted to YouTube so I had another look at it.

Listening to the screams of the tethered rabbits as the trainers used them to tease the greyhounds, you’d have to ask: has this industry learned anything?

The man interviewed in the clip is today a successful, well-known greyhound trainer.

Though I’d like to see more blooding culprits caught on camera, I’d much prefer to see an end to this nightmarish industry.

Let the greyhounds have their lives back. They are not “raw materials” or “commodities”, as high-flying industry honchos call them. They are dogs.

Man’s best friend, remember?

John Fitzgerald

Campaign for the Abolition Of Cruel  Sports

Irish Independent

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