Letter: 31 demands from beef farmers and rural Ireland


Demands include a compensation package for beef farmers who have sold cattle either to meat processors or through livestock marts in the last 6 months.

Letter: 31 demands from beef farmers and rural Ireland

  • ADDED
  • 14 days ago

Demands include a compensation package for beef farmers who have sold cattle either to meat processors or through livestock marts in the last 6 months.

A member of the Beef Plan Movement has addressed the following letter to Meat Industry Ireland and all its members, each meat processor in Ireland, each retailer of meat products in Ireland, An Taoiseach, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Minister for State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the Oireachtas Committee for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, every TD in Ireland and every MEP representing Ireland, The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, An Bord Bia, The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission of Ireland.

The member stated that if necessary, the letter will be issued to the EU Commission.

“Dear Sirs,

The beef farmers of Ireland request the following:

  1. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by the retailers, the meat processors, Meat Industry Ireland, the Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine that beef supplied by the beef farmers of Ireland at a base price of €3.50 per kilo ( and all associated adjustments, deductions, bonuses etc) is supplied to the meat processors and to the industry by the beef farmers of Ireland at a significant loss to the beef farmers.
  2. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by the retailers, the meat processors, Meat Industry Ireland, the Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine that beef supplied by the beef farmers of Ireland at a base price of €3.50 per kilo (and all associated adjustments, deductions, bonuses etc) is economically unsustainable both now and into the future.

  3. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by the retailers, the meat processors, Meat Industry Ireland, the Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine that because of the low prices paid for beef, supplied by the beef farmers of Ireland in recent years, a significant number of these suppliers have lost considerable amounts of money resulting in the loss of their capital, property and their livelihoods resulting in their exodus from the industry, in particular, the suckling farming industry and that due to the fact that the supply of beef is economically unsustainable together with the arbitrary rules imposed on the Beef Farmers of Ireland, the Beef Industry is in danger of being ruined beyond repair resulting in significant economic, social and cultural loss to rural Ireland and Ireland as a whole.

  4. That in order to protect the industry from annihilation in the future, in order to cushion the losses in the short-term, that the meat processors of Ireland will support the beef farmers of Ireland by sharing part of the significant declared profits accumulated in the past in increasing the price paid immediately for cattle supplied.

  5. That in order to protect the industry from annihilation in the future, in order to cushion the losses in the short-term, the Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine and the Minister for Finance will agree to a compensation package payable immediately and directly to all beef farmers who have sold cattle either to meat processors or through livestock marts in the last six months.

  6. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by the retailers, the meat processors, Meat Industry Ireland, the Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine that product supplied to the industry known as the fifth quarter without payment to the beef farmers is improvident and unconscionable and must no longer be allowed to continue and that therefore, the meat processors will commence payment to the beef farmer suppliers for the fifth quarter immediately.

  7. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by the Retailers, The Meat Processors, Meat Industry Ireland, The Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine that the Meat Industry cannot continually make profits at all times and always at the expense of the beef farmers of Ireland.

  8. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by the retailers, the meat processors, Meat Industry Ireland, the Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine that the principles of Fair Trade are not implemented in the Industry and agree to the immediate implementation of the terms and the spirit of the EU Directive (EU) 2019/633 on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain.

  9. The Government of Ireland will immediately transpose the EU Directive (EU) 2019/633 on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain into Irish Law and furthermore, in line with the spirit of the Directive and in line with the permissions allowed in the Directive, the Government of Ireland will transpose the Directive in a way that gives protections to Beef farmers of Ireland that go beyond the terms and obligations of the Directive.

  10. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by the Retailers, The Meat Processors, Meat Industry Ireland, The Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine that current conditions of supply and payments are not objectively justifiable and all parties agree to the immediate suspension all arbitrary conditions for payment relating to An Bord Bia membership related bonus payments including but not limited to rules relating to the 16-month rule on bull payments, the 30-month rule on heifer/steer payments, 70-day residency requirements, 4 movement rule etc. Quality Assurance payments are payable to all animals from quality-assured holdings.

  11. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition and agreement by the retailers, the meat processors, Meat Industry Ireland, the Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine that no arbitrary conditions of supply of animals or rules of payments for animals will be implemented unless there is independent market research showing a majority percentage of consumers preference for such a rule, such research conducted among at least 100,000 consumers justifying such a rule or condition. For example, in an independent market research survey, out of 100,000 consumers questioned, at least 50,000 require beef from animals slaughtered under 30 months.

  12. Confirmation from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine that there has been no breach of each animal farmers' rights to privacy as protected by the General Data Protection Regulations and the Data Protection Acts and that there has been no unauthorised access by any third party to the AIMS database.

  13. Confirmation from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine that its security system will ensure that no party will ever have access to the AIMS data on each farmer other than the individual farmer's access to his own data.

  14. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by retailers, meat processors, Meat Industry Ireland, the Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine that the grid for payment for cattle requires immediate simplification and reform.

  15. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by retailers, meat processors, Meat Industry Ireland, the Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine that the slaughter of cattle and the rules and conditions of payment lacks transparency. In that regard;

    • The Minister for Agriculture, and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry agrees to the immediate return of fulltime supervising staff to the factory floor at all times to ensure animals are butchered to proper standards, weighed properly and are not excessively trimmed.
    • The meat processors, Meat Industry Ireland agree to the immediate return of the full-time supervision of the slaughter of all cattle by the Department of Agriculture staff with input from farmers.
  16. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by all stakeholders in the industry and by the Government and all TDs that transparency is lacking in the entire industry. In that regard, the immediate return of the Oireachtas Committee for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to business is necessary. The beef farmers of Ireland require an immediate enquiry by the Oireachtas Committee for Agriculture, Food and the Marine into the workings of all levels of the industry, the use of arbitrary rules of supply and payment and in that regard, a direction is requested that an investigation be carried out by the Consumer and Competition Protection Commission (CCPC) be ordered immediately.

  17. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by all stakeholders in the industry and by the Government and all TDs that farmers are being forced out of the business of beef farming at alarming numbers and that their exit, in some cases, requires the sale of their land to meet their losses. It is well accepted that in any particular industry, that if players at any particular level are going out of business, that is prima facia evidence of unhealthy competition in the marketplace. In that regard, an immediate acknowledgement by the CCPC that there is a serious and significant imbalance of bargaining positions between farmers and processors and there are appearances of anti-competitive practices within the industry, that transparency is lacking in the entire industry, and therefore an immediate investigation by the CCPC is necessary and that the CCPC will apply its resources with immediate effect.

  18. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by all stakeholders in the industry that an investigation by the CCPC will clear the air and that each stakeholder will cooperate fully with an investigation by the CCPC. Therefore, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, will request immediately that the CCPC undertake an investigation into the entire Beef Industry.

  19. That in an investigation by the CCPC, they will examine all possible breaches of the Competition Acts including but not limited to Section 4 of the Competition Acts, unfair trading terms, concerted practices, cartel operations, the use of non-objective criteria for supply, slaughter and payment etc. For example, the use of the 16- and 30-month rule for payment guarantees that farmers are forced to sell under conditions that are out of the farmers control and is singularly possibly one of the most anti-competitive practices in the industry and must be officially prohibited.

  20. That in an investigation by the CCPC, they will examine all possible breaches including but not limited to Section 5 of the Competition Acts. It is the belief of each and every beef farmer in Ireland that there are serious abuses of dominance by the meat processors and indeed possibly the retailers of Ireland. The beef farmers have no other option or outlet to sell finished cattle but to the beef processors. They believe that control of the beef processors is in too few hands. They believe that control of offal processing is in the hands of one individual only. If this is the case, the behaviour of this individual requires micromanagement by the CCPC.

  21. That in an investigation by the CCPC of possible breaches of Section 5 of the Competition Acts, an investigation of potentially serious abuses of dominance by the meat processors is necessary where the use by particular beef processors of large numbers of cattle in their own feedlots is potentially a serious abuse of their dominance. For example, the killing of cattle from the processors own feedlots is used at times as a tool which both directly and indirectly, controls the price to be paid for the supply of cattle by independent farmer suppliers in the marketplace. Such independent farmer suppliers rarely get the benefit of a full uplift in price payable in the wider marketplace.

  22. The immediate acknowledgement by the Government, The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, The Oireachtas Committee on Agricultural that no beef processor or any related or associated individual or company should be allowed to hold or own any beef finishing cattle forthwith and that the Government will commit to implementing laws to ban the ownership of the above of cattle feedlots immediately.

  23. That the Government will implement laws immediately banning ownership by any individual or company of any feedlot containing more than 1000 head of beef finishing cattle at any one particular time.

  24. In the event that the Government, or the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture or the CCPC fail to initiate an investigation into the entire Beef Industry for possible anti-competitive practices that directly or indirectly contribute to unlawful behaviour within 1 calendar month from today’s date, that the EU Commission agree that all of the foregoing matters be referred to European Commission for investigation into anti-competitive practices within the beef industry within a significant geographical area of the EU, such investigation to include the failure of the relevant authorities within this jurisdiction to provide the necessary protection required by EU law.

  25. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by the Retailers, The Meat Processors, Meat Industry Ireland, The Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine that the recent EU/Mercosur trade deal adversely affects the interests of the Beef Farmers of Ireland and an agreement by the Government that it will no longer support the trade deal.

  26. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by the current Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine that he has failed to protect the beef farmers of Ireland and their Constitutional Right to earn a livelihood and that, therefore, he must resign or explain his failures.

  27. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by the current Minister for State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture that he has failed to protect the Beef Farmers of Ireland and their Constitutional Right to earn a livelihood and that therefore he must resign or explain his failures.

  28. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by the current Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, that she has failed to protect the Beef Farmers of Ireland and their Constitutional Right to earn a livelihood and has stood by while the imbalance of bargaining positions flourished allowing possible anti-competitive practices without investigation by the CCPC and that, therefore, she must resign or explain her failures.

  29. The immediate acknowledgement and recognition by the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture that all farmers of Ireland in all areas of agriculture in Ireland are inadequately represented, that the portfolio of Minister for Agriculture is overstretched and that a new portfolio within Government must be created led by a Minister for Farmers and Rural Ireland and recommend that such Ministry be created immediately.

  30. That An Taoiseach acknowledges, recognises and agrees to the creation of a new Department of Farmers and Rural Ireland immediately.

  31. That An Taoiseach acknowledges, recognises and agrees to provide the resources necessary to the relevant Government Departments and Agencies to carry out all investigations necessary to support and protect the Beef farmers of Ireland and to protect and promote the social, cultural and economic fabric of rural Ireland.

The beef farmers of Ireland and rural Ireland await all of the above.”

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