President Michael D Higgins has "overstepped the mark" by warning that people will have to change their diet to adapt to climate change, according to the IFA.
Yesterday, after his speech at the National Ploughing Championships in Laois, President Higgins said there is “no doubt whatsoever” that there will be “big changes” in diet as a result of climate change.
This comes following a recommendation from the Environmental Protection Agency in August, which used its official Twitter account to suggest that people should 'eat less meat' and try eating vegetarian meals instead.
The tweet had caused "huge rage" among farmers – who now say President Higgins has also overstepped the mark.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, IFA President Tim Cullinan said diet is a "choice for individuals themselves".
"I don't think we need anybody – whether it's President Higgins or whoever – advocating to people the type of diet they consume," he said.
"People are very well educated themselves, and they're able to make that decision," he said.
Mr Cullinan said the President "definitely " has overstepped the mark.
"I would be concerned that anybody would be making comments, as I said, advocating the type of diet people would consume, or consumers would consume," he said.
Mr Cullinan said concerns around farming emissions have been respected by farmers.
"We were given the target of reducing methane emissions by 25% – we're on that journey, the EPA themselves have stated that farmers can reduce those emissions currently by 19% of the 25%," he said.
"With the adopted further measures and the advancements in science, I believe we can achieve our target by 2030."
Meet the President
Mr Cullinan said he would welcome the opportunity to speak to President Higgins about the issues face to face.
"If the President is at The Ploughing, I'll be at The Ploughing all day," he said.
"I would like to meet the President on those comments – absolutely."
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