ICMSA president Pat McCormack
Thousands of Irish people and farm families who work in the State’s agriculture sector would be taken aback by the sheer disconnect demonstrated by former President Mary Robinson in her comments on RTE in which she seemed to suggest that responding to global warming will require whole populations becoming vegetarian, according to ICMSA president Pat McCormack.
Mrs Robinson must surely realise that the issue was much more complex than simply urging societies to become vegetarian or vegans, he said.
He that there were several layers that addressing the challenge of climate change was not helped by "rather glib exhortations that involved throwing out millennia of dietary practice" while undermining Ireland’s biggest indigenous economic activity: food production.
Mr McCormack said that Mrs Robinson was entitled to her views, but farmers could reasonably expect her to take their day-to-day reality as her starting point.
"Climate Change is the greatest challenge facing mankind and there’s no room for this kind of facile sensationalism we got from Mrs Robinson, and not for the first time either," said the Tipperary farmer.
One of the easiest and most straightforward ways of reducing our individual carbon footprint was to radically examine whether it was either necessary or desirable to fly around the world from seminar to seminar urging others to give up meat and dairy for the planet’s sake, he said.
"In the list of things we can do to address global warming, superfluous air travel should be a lot higher up most people’s agenda than environmentally-sustainable production of milk or meat," said Mr McCormack.