A FARM leader has slammed comments made by former President Mary Robinson on RTÉ, in which she seemed to suggest that responding to global warming will require whole populations becoming vegetarian.
The president of ICMSA, Pat McCormack, said that the many thousands of Irish people and farm families who work in the State’s agriculture sector would be taken aback by the sheer disconnect demonstrated in her remarks.
He said that Mrs Robinson must surely realise that the issue was much more complex than simply urging societies to become vegetarian or vegans. McCormack said that there were several layers of environmental, agri-economic, socio-cultural and political considerations that had to be incorporated into any meaningful policy and 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.
McCormack acknowledged that Mrs Robinson is, ‘of course,’ 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. One of the easiest and most straightforward ways of reducing our individual carbon footprint is to radically examine whether it’s 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.
‘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,’ he said.