Meat factories are coming under attack by farmers who claim they were encouraged to increase their bull beef output, the market for which has all but disappeared.
ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan said: “The meat factories misled farmers by encouraging them into Friesian bull beef two years ago, and now leaving them high and dry. The bull beef backlog is now a crisis and the future of beef farming is again on a knife-edge.”
Mr Phelan questioned the commitment of factories to Irish beef farming and suggested that many beef farmers are now on the edge of despair as they look at pens of bulls that are unsaleable and rapidly approaching two years old.
“Judging by the calls I have received in the past week, I fear for the mental health of some farmers caught up in this situation,” said Mr Phelan.
He suggested that factories are trying to eliminate bulls because they want to undermine the live trade to North Africa, which is mainly for bulls.
The ICMSA’s beef and cattle chairman, Michael Guinan, called upon the factories to pay a fair price, and to clarify their long-term policy on bull beef production so that farmers can take informed decisions whether to continue in this enterprise or not.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved