Dear Minister McConalogue,
The proposed Climate Action Plan to cut the age of cattle at slaughter to 22-23 months will not deliver for livestock farmers, processors or do anything to reduce our emissions.
1. By and large, the male animal is going to be impacted negatively the most, and in particular the Friesian male from the dairy herd. Maybe if you throw a tonne of ration into him at €400/t! How will that affect his emissions?
2. Seasonal calving dairy herds are the norm. Estimates suggest pushing for a 22 month slaughter age could push the cattle kill to 60,000 per week. Power shifts to the factory if that happens. At the very least a seasonal glut could distort the market.
3. My concern is also that this new slaughter age would now become the base price and even if there was a slaughter premium paid, it would be swallowed up.
4. Again, if you haven’t noticed, we have applied for a PGI status for our grass-based system of cattle production and here we are bringing in a system that encourages a meal-fed winter finishing system. Is there any joined up thinking at all at play here – it’s crazy.
5. And last but not least, why is the lowest margin enterprise in farming asked to carry the can for emissions? Minister, I don’t blame you but you are being mis-advised.