Stop demonising farmers – they are not ruining the planet!




Last week, a teacher resource pack, which apparently is part of the An Taisce Green Schools’ programme, was rolled out in an effort to call for teachers in Irish classrooms to encourage students to eat less meat. Great! I’m all for saving animals’ lives. This latest move, which is allegedly endorsed by Minister for Communications Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton TD, should, for someone like me (a vegan and dedicated animal welfare supporter), be music to my ears. But instead, I find it all a bit very holier-than-thou(ish), for the simple reason I’ve always believed in the old adage that there’s no such thing as the one-size-fits-all scenario, and people should be allowed to consume whatever foods they wish; with hopefully a healthy, happy lifestyle being the overall objective. 

  You see, as a former animal welfare officer/humane education lecturer, when I spoke in schools and colleges, (including the UCD School of Veterinary), and, when Eurogroup for Animals invited me to give a presentation to a delegation of leaders from 27 EU member states in Brussels, my lesson plans always focused on the humane and compassionate treatment of all animals as well as enlightening participants regarding how the meat and dairy industry can have an impact on both human and animal health in the wider environment. So, okay, you get it folks…Mir kinda knows her stuff!

   But here’s the thing readers…never once did I, and never once will I, ever tell anyone to stop consuming meat and dairy. Why? Because it is none of my business what people eat!

  Besides, (and while I mean no disrespect to the minister), I’d have to ask Mr. Bruton if he’s fully thought this whole initiative through. I mean, what’s his cunning plan if the following were to happen? That’s if the whole country stops eating meat and dairy and instead everyone becomes like me, (a vegan), and farmers are forced to industrially grow grains, fruit, soya and maize, etc.? That would mean using massive amounts of pesticides, fungicides and fertilisers, etc., all of which can contaminate soil, seriously degrading it due to their chemical input. This, in turn, can blight our water supply and negatively affect other vegetation, as well as killing insects and proving toxic to our birds and our fish.

  While I applaud this wonderful Green School initiative, my advice to those who’re involved in rolling it out would be to concentrate their efforts on educating parents and children regarding the practice of shopping and supporting our local farmers and suppliers. Show them how the use of sustainable forms of farming methods, which are based on traditional structures, can help our planet, and for God’s sake, stop demonising farmers and trying to force them to turn away from meat and dairy production!

  I mean, ask yourselves two questions…how are farmers going to earn their living? And – do we really want to pressure them into growing crops that require massive amounts of toxins? 

  The bottom line here is that perhaps our educators, and our government, need to understand that they have not just got a major responsibility, but indeed an obligation and a duty, when it comes to enlightening students and their parents regarding the whole ‘stop-eating-meat’ issue because, unless everyone in Ireland sources their vegetarian/vegan produce and products specifically via a one hundred per cent organic source, (impossible…I’ve tried it), then we are in danger of, (and will be guilty of), engaging in the destruction of our soil. If this happens, we will deprive our beautiful wildlife and our insects of their lives…thus remarkably, and sinfully contributing to the serious threat we face from climate change, which will then increase the carbon footprint dilemma the minister is trying to reduce!

  What we need is an end to unethical, high-carbon polluting practices, however, (and it may seem mad coming from a vegan), persecuting farmers and telling everyone that giving up meat/dairy will save our planet is not only ludicrous, it’s also a clear indication to me that somebody hasn’t done their homework!


Who do you think you are, Mel B?


Mel B, aka Scary Spice, once told the world, (according to a piece carried in The Guardian), that she was ‘ecstatically in love with her husband, Stephen Belafonte’. That the pair ‘were soulmates,’ sharing ‘an extraordinary intimacy,’ and they were ‘so compatible, she’d basically married herself’. Bless her. So, you get the picture; they were mad for each other.

  However, given more recent allegations surrounding drug binges and horrific abuse within the marriage, (and her memoir Brutally Honest), it’s now clear that the leopard-skin clad, tongue-pierced one was telling big porkies. So, having read that the raucous attention-seeker had publicly dropped the aul me-and Ginger- had-a-fling bombshell on the eve of a Spice Girls’ tour, which is allegedly only happening to help Scary crawl out of debt following her costly divorce, I think Ginger, who denies anything happened, is right to feel ‘upset,’ and ‘hurt’. However, I’d not only question Mel B’s motives, I’d also question her credibility and ask if she’s ahem, distorting the truth?

  Look, I don’t care if the two (of them) became one, I don’t even like the Spice Girls, but as far as I’m concerned, there’s no worse an unladylike position in which a gal can find herself than publicly kissing and telling on a former lover. For me, due to her big mouth, Mel B has become a walking punchline, with a reputation for milking the last drop of publicity out of a supposed historical liaison. You see, by dishing up dirt concerning her alleged dalliance with her now happily married/mother bandmate all those years ago, Scary has committed one of the cardinal sins against being classed as both a lady and as a ‘girl power’ role model, leading me to wonder if she’s just another desperate ‘wannabe’ bore, banging on about notches on her bedpost in an attempt to generate ticket sales, and er, ‘spice up her life’.

  So, for any future partners out there, I’d suggest that ‘if you wannabe her lover,’ be prepared for Scary to blab, because it appears the woman simply cannot resist washing both hers, and your, dirty laundry in public.