ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham has said that cracks are beginning to appear in the cosy consensus around the 30-month age limit for cattle.
“News that Supermacs boss Pat McDonagh has said that he has no problem with beef from animals up to 36 months of age, added to the same admission by Lidl, exposes the 30-month rule for what it is – a racket to keep farmers down, unable to sell freely when they want to,” he stated.
Graham said that it further begs the question why the CCPC has not sent any letters to meat factories challenging this anti-competitive practice.
“The market has clearly been rigged against farmers who are in a very weak position but the CCPC has had no problem with this.”
“The very fact that all processors continuously operated the same rule, and repeated the same mantra, even though they each have a different portfolio of customers is blatant evidence of cartel-like behaviour.”
“But the CCPC has turned a blind eye to this; they avert their gaze from the big three processors and then are hyper proactive in threatening the representatives of small-scale farmers who are being crucified in a rigged market.”
'Gone too far'
“The outcome is the sorry pass we have arrived at today with farmers on their knees and losing money hand over fist. It has now gone too far.
Graham believes it is now impossible to persuade farmers that they have anything to gain by being responsible and leaving the pickets.
“For too long, they have acted responsibly, and factories and retailers have responded by squeezing them more and more.” he concluded.