MEP Luke Ming Flanagan has come out against the proposed Mercosur deal, calling it a “disaster” for the Irish Agriculture industry.
Speaking to TF Journalist, Kevin Forde, Mr. Flanagan said the proposed Mercosur deal is a disaster for Irish farmers and the beef industry. Flanagan says the deal could counteract all the hard work gone into Antimicrobial Resistance.
“One of the reasons is if we want to guarantee that we have high standards...we have to make sure that everything that comes into this market also sticks to those high standards”, said Luke.
He said if we begin importing beef, from regions with lower standards, then we are just going to negate any of the work we do here ourselves.
“We see that in a lot of different areas and not just AMR.” he said.
Ming compared the dilemma to farmers battling climate change, whilst others go about their business as normal, without any heed on it.
“On the one hand we have farmers jumping through hoops, and rightly so, to mitigate against climate change with farming methods. Then, on the other hand, it’s like we pretend it doesn’t happen, similar to AMR” said Luke.
“We are creating a situation where massive amounts of food, thousands of tonnes of it, can come from other parts of the planet and that does do damage to climate change mitigation measures. Here we have it again” he said.
He referenced a comment he made recently in a meeting, saying the proposed Mercosur deal, if agreed, would be like “pissing in drinking water after purifying it” and pretending to yourself it will be fine, as you had purified it in the first place.
Ming also pointed to the short three-month traceability received from Mercosur beef as a major problem. He said importing beef from this region, when we can trace our own supplies back to birth, “doesn’t make any sense”.
Traceability is, Ming says, what the European consumer wants and he said this proposed deal is a “massive contradiction”.
He said the main problem is we are not comparing “like for like”. He said in importing brazilian beef we “are not getting the same thing” and said it negates all the hard work going into animal husbandry and rights to allow this deal to take place.
“It really is an apple and orange situation”, he said.
“It’s going to be a disaster for Irish farming because we cannot compete with the way they produce beef, and not only that we don’t want to produce beef they way they do. More importantly the consumer doesn’t want.” he added.
“We are getting into a deal that nobody really wants” he warned.