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On Tuesday, Jan 21st IFA held a half-day conference with the objective of rebalancing the debate around climate action.
Entitled ‘Climate Action in Agriculture – A Balanced Approach’, the event featured one of the foremost experts in the world on the important role of farming in the climate debate, Dr Frank Mitloehner from UC Davis, California (the video of Dr Mitloehner’s talk is available here).

Other speakers included Prof. John Fitzgerald, Chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council (video here), and Dr Frank O’Mara of Teagasc (video here).

The event also heard from Tom Arnold, Chair of the Government’s 2030 agri-food strategy, Prof. Alice Stanton of the Royal College of Physicians and various IFA representatives.

Videos of the main presentations and the accompanying slides are available at IFA.ie/ClimateAction.

Opening the IFA Climate event in Dublin today, IFA President Joe Healy said the agri-food sector stands ready to respond and is actively engaged in climate action.

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The IFA is hosting an important half-day event on Tues, Jan 21st to rebalance the debate around climate action.

Entitled ‘Climate Action in Agriculture – A Balanced Approach’, the event will feature one of the foremost experts in the world on the important role of farming in the climate debate, Dr. Frank Mitloehner from UC Davis, California who will balance, with scientific evidence, the discussion about the contribution of agriculture to the climate challenge.

Other speakers include Prof. John Fitzgerald, Chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council, and Dr. Frank O’Mara of Teagasc.

Speaking in advance of the event, IFA President, Joe Healy said, “Farmers are tired of being kicked around and scapegoated when it comes to climate action”.

“The lack of balance in the debate is very frustrating for Irish farmers, given the high standards we adhere to and the quality of the food we produce. For example, 90% of Ireland’s beef exports are now in an audit and carbon foot printing programme and 100% of milk production is completing a carbon auditing cycle. This is unique – we are the only country in the world that measures, monitors and manages carbon from farm to fork. Yet we are constantly being pilloried for not doing enough.”

The IFA President said, “We hope that this event will help in re-balancing what is currently a very one-sided debate”.

IFA President Joe Healy said that Eden Animal Sanctuary, which funds expensive advertisements around Ireland and the UK as part of the Go Vegan World campaign, needs to publish where its money comes from.

This ‘Sanctuary’ is a company limited by guarantee, it does not have charitable status and therefore is not subject to charity regulations. The way the company is structured also avoids the regulations around the need to publish audited annual accounts.

“It seems extraordinary that a multi-million euro advertising campaign across Ireland and the UK would be run from an obscure animal sanctuary in Ireland which is not a registered charity; does not produce audited accounts; and does not disclose where its funding comes from,” he said.

“The latest unaudited accounts of the company for 2018 show an income of almost €3m. They need to stop being a secret society and tell the public who is funding them,” he said.

Substantial commercial interests are investing in non-meat products. “It’s clear there is also a campaign to deflect from other sectors in the climate debate, including fossil fuels,” he said.

Go Vegan World has promoted an inaccurate message on billboards saying that ‘Eating animal foods contributes more to climate change than transport’.  IFA complained about this advert to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) and we were advised that the messaging was outside their remit.

“I think the public deserve to know who is funding these campaigns. As the ASAI have washed their hands of the issue, it is clear that there is no oversight in relation to the validity of their messaging or who is funding it.”

“The Eden Sanctuary needs to come from behind the cloak of secrecy and publish all the sources of its funding,” he said.

 

Brendan Golden has been elected Chairman of the IFA National Livestock Committee at a meeting in Portlaoise today.  He is the Mayo representative on the Committee.

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