A tweet encouraging the public in Ireland not to eat meat was axed by a state agency of the Irish Government after a backlash from farming organisations in the country.
Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had initially defended the tweet uploaded last month, which told members of the public to eat less red meat to become “healthier, wealthier and more fabulous”.
Such claims earned the ire of Ireland’s powerful farming industry. The Irish Farmers’ Association asked for it to be taken down “as a matter of urgency” as it caused “considerable anger among farmers”.
Dairy Industry Ireland said it had “serious concerns” about the post, which it claimed contained misinformation about the negative health impacts of animal products.
The criticisms ultimately appeared to result in the EPA’s decision to delete the post. Despite that, the organisation reportedly insisted it was not bowing to external pressure and stood by the tweet’s core message.
“We did not take it down because anyone asked us to do so,” Director General of the EPA Laura Burke said in an internal email.
“We took it down because part of the post, and the tone, was something we could not stand over.”
She went on to criticise the initial tweet for treating the issue in a manner that was “too flippant for a complex, important and often emotive topic”.
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The EPA’s criticism of meat comes as the Irish Government puts pressure on farmers to cull their herds in service of climate change.
According to a report by the Financial Times, the country’s pro-European Union administration is aiming to see Ireland’s population of dairy cows reduced by 200,000 over the next three years.
That is part of efforts to cut agricultural emissions by 25 per cent before 2030, a plan heavily linked to “green” measures passed at the European level.
Ireland is far from the only European nation chasing such reductions. Germany’s agricultural minister Cem Özdemir has repeatedly stated that his country also needs to cut its national herd and rely more on tillage crops.
Eurocrats are pursuing the use of other alternative sources of protein, with the bloc regularly approving various types of insect-based products for human consumption.
Brussels has refused to implement labelling rules for food products that contain insects despite calls to do so by MEPs. Officials insist that such products pose no danger to human health and therefore do not require such.
That reasoning has been rejected by ECR group MEP Charlie Weimers, who said the European Commission’s refusal to implement clear labelling requirements was “disingenuous”.
“Not everything should be normalised,” he said. “Food that contains Arthropods should have a clear and visible marker on the front – not only the Latin name of the creep in the list of ingredients – so that consumers can make a conscious decision.”
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