ACTIVISTS posed as journalists in a bid to get evidence of animal cruelty on farms.
The Wakker Dier animal rights group in the Netherlands sent a team of undercover extremists posing as reporters to thirteen farms in Ireland. In order to gain access the team pretended to be working for a Polish Newspaper and told the farmers that they were investigating the influence of Brexit in Ireland.
The Netherlands is a major export market for Irish beef and the activists were seeking to discredit Irish meat to Dutch shoppers.
All 13 farms targeted were part of the Dutch Bord Bia’s Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS).
The activists supplied video and still pictures to Dutch newspapers who reported what they believed were cases of animal cruelty.
But Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy said the allegations do not give an honest or factual representation of the high standards of Irish beef production.
She said: “To judge, and seek to damage, the reputation of our entire nation’s beef production system based on an analysis of just 13 farms is unjust and willfully malicious. Equally, to suggest animal welfare it is not important to Bord Bia’s SBLAS members is fundamentally and entirely inaccurate.”
“SBLAS is an important guarantee for buyers of Irish beef throughout the world, and farmers who do not meet the strict criteria of the system, will not be certified.”
The Netherlands has been among Ireland’s top five export destinations for beef this year with almost €70m exported in the first four months of 2016 alone.