Responding to the report published by The Lancet, IFA president Joe Healy said the report fails to take any account of how carbon efficiently food is produced in different regions of the world, or the very high standards that Irish farmers adhere to.
“Irish farmers are engaged in climate action. We have very efficient food production systems in Ireland from a climate perspective. We are the most carbon efficient dairy producer in Europe and among the top five in beef. It’s important that this sustainable production is not restricted, as it would lead to increased international climate emissions. This would happen because regions like the Brazilian Amazon in South America would be deforested to meet this growing demand.
“The Teagasc climate roadmap, published in June last year, represents a clear strategy for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the sector. However, it requires whole of Government support. The IFA has written to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and sought his climate leadership in co-ordinating the key Government Departments and state agencies to fully deliver this climate roadmap.”
Mr Healy added that proteins from beef and dairy are an important part of a balanced diet, with the threat to public health from obesity is well documented. Dietary balance, variety and moderation combined with an active lifestyle remain the single-most important message we all need to act upon, and this is what public health authorities must focus on.
He said it was a ludicrous distraction to suggest that people should have little or no meat and dairy as part of their diet.