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‘Documents suggesting the need to cull 1 million cows will create absolute uproar’

In this article, ICSA president Dermot Kelleher, reacts to media reports, suggesting that the one million cows will have to be culled to meet climate targets.

The reports in the Irish Times about documents suggesting the need to cull one million cows to meet climate targets will create absolute uproar in rural Ireland.

The report states that the government is considering a €2 billion farm retirement scheme to encourage farmers to exit farming and “drastically” reduce cow numbers to meet climate change targets.

The document, which the publication retrieved through a Freedom of Information request, outlines that one million cows would need to be culled to meet a 25% reduction in agricultural emissions.

Cull one million cows

The news article states that beef farmers would receive up to €3,000/suckler cow, with higher payments for dairy cows.

Furthermore, it adds that the overall aim would be to reduce suckler cow numbers by at least 700,000 and dairy cow numbers by 300,000.

I believe the government must immediately clarify that a briefing document with this level of economic and social insanity will be binned immediately.

No responsible government in their right mind would contemplate such a level of carnage in our most important indigenous sector.

This is the sector that kept the wheels turning when Ireland was in deep difficulty after the financial crash and which has grown agri-food exports from €10 billion to €15.2 billion in the last decade.

This money has been of great benefit not only to the agri-food sector but many other parts of the rural economy.

The government has another thing coming if it thinks it can bully the farming sector into submission with insane, ill-thought-out policies.

Decimate suckler and dairy sectors

Worse is the attempt to sow division between sectors, and the idea that the target would include 700,000 suckler cows will be particularly toxic.

Farmers are willing to do their fair share on climate and are always working to become more sustainable.

However, there is no possible way that a plan to decimate our suckler and dairy sectors will be tolerated.

Dangerous ideas like this will drain all goodwill from the farming sector, and the government is on a major collision course with rural Ireland if it thinks this will fly.

We are demanding that the Taoiseach, Tanaiste and the leader of the Green Party, Minister Ryan, immediately meet with the main farm organisations to explain what the government thinking is.

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