Climate Change Bill will ‘devastate our agricultural industry’ - Allister

TUV leader Jim Allister has said the Climate Change Bill will “devastate our agricultural industry” if it passes.
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Mr Allister was pleased to accept an invitation from the Ulster Farmers’ Union and Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA) to attend a briefing from local farmers on Friday.

The event was held on a Loughguile farm and centred on Clare Bailey’s Climate Change Bill, which has “co-sponsors from Sinn Fein, SDLP, Ulster Unionist Party and Alliance”.

The North Antrim MLA commented: “The event was most informative and brought home to me again the utter folly and danger of this bill.

TUV leader, Jim Allister.TUV leader, Jim Allister.
TUV leader, Jim Allister.

“If this bill passes it will devastate our agricultural industry, necessitating unsustainable reduction in livestock levels, the importation of foreign food - with huge carbon footprint - and massive job losses across the agri-food sector.”

Mr Allister said it was not lost on the farmers present that “some politicians and parties have spoken out of both sides of their mouth” on the issue.

“They have said, ‘oh we’re going to look after the farming sector. We’re going to consult. We’re going to make sure that these things don’t happen’.

“However, it is abundantly clear what will happen if the bill is enacted.”

He continued: “You cannot proclaim, for the sake of your constituency, that you will protect your farming community if you troop through a lobby to vote for something that will devastate your farming community.

“That is the reality.

“I am saying that the answer is not to take 50 per cent and more of our animals and slaughter them or to take 50 per cent of our production and export it to the depleting rainforests of Brazil and then sit back smugly and say, ‘didn’t we do well?’.

“That is the ethos of the bill.

“It comes down to this - do our constituents buy the high quality meat produced in North Antrim or the meat produced on land that has been stripped in the Amazon basin?”

The assemblyman said that is an issue that politicians, “including those like Philip McGuigan who champion this absurd bill”, have to consider.

“I thank the farmers from the Loughguile area who took the time to underscore to invited MLAs the very clear and real dangers of this bill, and trust that those who chose not to attend, like Mr McGuigan, will nonetheless get the message,” Mr Allister ended.

The assembly’s Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs committee published its report on the Climate Change (No.1) Bill last week. You can read more on the findings here.