Harkin in new call for banning of Brazilian beef

Connacht/Ulster MEP Marian Harkin has joined five other MEPs who have tabled a written declaration in Strasbourg calling for an EU ban on the importation of Brazilian beef with immediate effect.   Speaking to the Roscommon People from her office in Strasbourg yesterday (Wednesday) Marian Harkin says that a lot of parliamentarians in Europe do not understand the seriousnes of the situation.   ‘Brazil is divided up into states, some of which are foot and mouth free and some who have the disease and a lot of people are under the impression that it is only from foot and mouth free states that beef is imported – but that is certainly not the case’ said MEP Harkin.   ‘There are very lax border controls and we will have a job to highlight the real concerns that there are with regard to the Brazilian Beef imports’ she continued.   The EU imported 330,000 tonnes of Brazilian beef in 2006. However the EU have resisted any calls for a ban despite the fact that the US, Japan and Australia have banned Brazilian beef on health grounds.   ‘It will be very difficult to get a majority of MEPs to support this declaration’ according to Marian Harkin. ‘The presidency is currently held by Portugal and we know the close links that exist between Brazil and Portugal. However all we can do is to continue to highlight the situation as we see it’ she continued.   The six MEPs met with farming organisations including the IFA earlier in the summer to hear their fears about the Brazilian imports.   IFA President Padraig Walshe has said that there was widespread foot and mouth in Brazil with only haphazard vaccination and little or no controls on the movement from infected areas.