‘Anti-dairy’ billboards slammed by DUP MLA

William Irwin MLA is pictured with one of the contentious anti-dairy billboards in Armagh City and also with one of his dairy cows which he says"clearly shows just how much care dairy cows receive".
William Irwin MLA is pictured with one of the contentious anti-dairy billboards in Armagh City and also with one of his dairy cows which he says"clearly shows just how much care dairy cows receive".

Newry and Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has slammed the group Eden Animal Sanctuary on what he says are attempts to mislead the public over dairy farming through a province wide advertising campaign.

Mr Irwin said he took “great exception” to the advertisement which he said was “completely misleading”.

Mr Irwin who has dairy farmed all his life said: “When I was informed of this advert by members of the public I have to say I was totally disgusted when I read the message it promotes.

“What was even worse, was the fact this was on the side of a large supermarket in Armagh City where top quality Northern Irish dairy products are on sale daily.”

He added: “I know just how much care and attention dairy cows need and receive. To see a message that states humane milk is a ‘myth’ is the most ridiculous and untrue message I have read.

“Dairy farming requires a great amount of monitoring of the cow’s health, its diet and for instance its bedding, where in most cases farmers use soft matting for the cows to lie on during the winter.”

He continued: “Take the fact that farmers have been installing mechanised ‘back scratchers’ for cows where the cow can go and stand and a soft bristle brush rubs their skin – this is reality!

“Contrast this reality with the total nonsense that Eden Animal Sanctuary are promoting where they claim in bold writing that ‘humane milk is a myth don’t buy it’.

“I would actively encourage the public to disregard the message the billboards promote and continue to enjoy Northern Ireland’s top quality dairy produce.”

He concluded: “I will be writing to the supermarket where this advertisement was installed to express my deepest concerns at such a misleading message being promoted.

“Dairy farming is under enough pressure as it is without active campaigns to discredit what is one of the oldest farming traditions in the world to provide one of the most necessary and nutritious sources of food in the world.

“Dairy farming in Northern Ireland is tightly monitored and cows are treated magnificently by farmers across the province, that is a proven undisputable fact.

“Animal welfare is a key element of farming and where any breaches occur, the agencies with responsibility act quickly and robustly and rightly so.”