Donegal TD Thomas Pringle this week spoke out against the latest EU-Mercosur deal which the Deputy acknowledged was now becoming known as the “cows for cars” deal.

Speaking during Statements on Mercosur in the Dáil this week Deputy Pringle raised the issue of the Mercosur/ EU saying it would “not only enable further an agricultural industry that is partly responsible for mass deforestation in the Amazon, it would bring in beef not with the same standards of traceability, animal welfare, or food safety.”

Continuing, Pringle said “Brazilian and Argentinean does not come close to current EU standards in terms of traceability. I raised the case highlighted by the Guardian of industrial-size farms wiping out vast tracts of rainforest and restricted from selling their herds as a result. What they ended up doing was transferring their herd to a farm that was legal in order to continue to make a profit. Their own Brazilian Government could not stop this act so to think that Fine Gael Ministers in a small country like ours will be able to have an impact on Brazil’s meat industry standards through Mercosur is fanciful thinking.

“The Mercosur deal with the EU was designed to boost Germany’s failing automotive industry and boost the profits of giant corporations who do not care about small beef farmers in Donegal or the rainforest in Brazil. Expecting beef farmers in Ireland to sacrifice their livelihoods for the car industry in Germany is emblematic of what global free trade has gotten us – raw deals.

“I made further calls to the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Business that if they were serious about preserving the livelihoods of small farmers as well as addressing the environmental concerns in South America they would form a minority voting block with like-minded countries opposing the deal, in order to vote against the deal in two years’ time.

“I will continue to oppose this and any other deal which does not adequately address the needs of small time farmers or the pressing environmental concerns which Ireland and the EU must stand up to at this critical time of economic and environmental change,” he concluded.

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