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IFA will be intensifying its campaign against the Mercosur trade deal this week.

IFA’s National Council, National Livestock Committee and National Poultry Committee will hold a lobby session for all TDs and Senators today (Tuesday) to build opposition to the deal.

“We will be highlighting the damage that this deal will do on a number of levels – to the rural economy here, to the global environment and to consumers,” said Joe Healy.

As part of the campaign, IFA is highlighting the environmental damage done by beef production in Brazil with a slogan ‘One Burned Every Minute’, a reference to a recent BBC report which shows that the size of a football pitch in the rainforest is burned down every minute to clear ground for grazing and cattle ranching.

On Wednesday, Joe Healy, Livestock Chairman Angus Woods and Poultry Chairman Andy Boylan will travel to Brussels to meet other farm leaders who are opposed to the deal.  “Just because the EU Commission is trying to sell us out doesn’t mean we won’t continue to fight this deal and build an alliance of opposition to it.”

A meeting will also take place with the EU Commissioner for Health and Food safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, who has responsibility regarding meat import standards. “It is clear that Brazilian meat is not produced to the same standards as European beef. We want to make it clear to the Health and Food Safety Commissioner that it is wrong that food is being imported into Europe, which would be illegal to produce here,” he said.

IFA President Joe Healy has said EU Commission President Jean Claude Junker and Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan must deliver on their commitment to put Ireland first in Brexit and ensure that there is no Mercosur deal on beef while Brexit remains unsorted.

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IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said the latest report from DG Sante proves that Brazil is still failing to meet EU standards on beef.

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“Brazil does not have the same traceability standards as EU producers” – this was the main conclusion of a report by the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture following a recent visit by a delegation of MEPs from the Committee to Brazil to investigate the beef and poultry industries.

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Speaking from Brussels today, IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said the decision of the EU to ban another 20 Brazilian meat plants because they fail to meet EU standards fully backs up the repeated calls from the IFA to reject any increase in meat imports from Brazil in the Mercosur negotiations.

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