Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action
Examination of the Third Report of the Citizens' Assembly (Resumed)
The fact is that we will have to eat less meat. There is no doubt about that. I am a passionate believer that vegetarianism is not the answer, but we eat too much meat. No previous generation has eaten as much meat as we do. The production of meat has a significant effect on the climate. We will have to eat less and better meat. That ought to be of benefit to Ireland because it produces a significant amount of good grass-fed meat. We must recognise that much meat is produced in a way that produces a lot of emissions and is not very good meat. We must move away from copying the American meat concept and towards eating less meat. That does not mean that we must become vegetarian. I do not even propose that we should eat meat at the level which departments of health say would be good for us. I am not going that far. We propose a relatively limited reduction in the amount of meat we eat which would not meet the figures proposed by dieticians. I am slightly questioning of those figures. We will not reach that level of reduction. However, we must move down that route. People will be far better off if they only eat good meat and some of the rubbish which is currently on the market is removed. We very much want to get rid of such products.