Irish Farmers Association has condemned a sit-in protest by activists at a Westmeath pig farm.
Joe Healy said the behaviour of the activists amounted to criminal activity and that they should be dealt with using “the full rigours of the law”.
A number of animal rights activists began a peaceful protest earlier today at a pig farm in Westmeath to raise awareness of animal rights.
Meat The Victims Ireland (MTVI) said that the protest was not accusing one particular farm or farmer of animal cruelty but aimed to “show the public the truth”. The group also said it did not know the name of the owner of the farm when it was deciding on a location for the protest.
Gardaí have been at the scene of the peaceful protest since 1pm today.
MTVI spokesperson Roger Yates told TheJournal.ie the group does not intend on leaving the farm until it receives ample media coverage.
IFA’s Joe Healy described the behaviour of the MTVI as reckless due to the ongoing threat of African swine fever.
“People are entitled to eat whatever they wish but this sort of intimidation of individual farmers is contemptible,” he said.
Group member Andy Anderson said that MTVI’s aim is to “disrupt legalised violence and murder against non-humans”.
Yates, who is a sociologist at UCD, said that most of the public is unaware of the details of animal exploitation.
“In fact, many people seem to believe that Ireland is a special place for other animals. This is not the case. Animal use is globalised, so animal use in Ireland simply follows industry standards,” he said.