Minister Hackett on a ‘cross-country gallop’ – ICMSA

Responding to the reported remarks of Minister of State, Pippa Hackett, in which she raised the possibility of livestock farmers introducing horses as a way of reducing emissions while supporting the equestrian sector, the President of ICMSA said that it appeared that the minister was “on a bit of a cross-country gallop herself”.

Pat McCormack said: “The most immediate question that would occur to anyone after reading Minister Hackett’s remarks would be what are we expected to do with 5,000 or 10,000 extra horses? Did the minister envisage Ireland exporting (more) horsemeat or a quadrupling of demand for racing bloodstock? What were the farmers to do with these horses?”

Mr. McCormack said ICMSA fully accepts the agriculture sector must “think outside the box” when it comes to emissions.

“We have always been up for that. All we ask for is that the policies and ideas be based in some reality and we are struggling here to see the basis on which Minister Hackett can come to the conclusion that introducing horses onto threatened family dairy farms represents economic and environmental progress”.

The ICMSA leader said there was a real danger that politicians were now “throwing out ideas” that were doing more harm than good.

“It was the Government that announced that we had to move past talking and into action and – that being the case – it’s really time for ministers themselves to stop thinking out loud and come back instead with some hard and logical proposals”.