Nov 13

Press Release: ‘Sustainability’ measures failing to address impacts of agriculture on our wildlife

The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) welcomes the publication today of An Bord Bia’s ‘Origin Green’ sustainability report and its stated aim for Ireland to become a ‘world leader of sustainably produced food and drink’. However existing measures are not addressing the significant role agriculture is playing in the on-going decline of nature in this country. These effects include:

  • On-going decline in farmland birds and pollinator populations
  • The decline in the badger population as a result of culling over 6,000 animals per annum, and with no commensurate benefit for disease levels in cattle
  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency half of our water is polluted and half of this comes from agriculture (http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/water/waterqua/wqr20102012/#.VkC-PNLhBkg )
  • Measures in the basic payment scheme of the Common Agriculture Policy that experts agree will have no benefit for wildlife or biodiversity (see http://capreform.eu/the-cap-and-biodiversity/ ).
  • No measureable benefit from agri-environmental schemes such as GLAS. Measures under this scheme are based on broad-based actions with no defined targets, and no scheme for measuring their effectiveness.
  • On-going degradation of uplands from burning and over-grazing
  • Continued over-fishing of our coastal seas

Indeed the National Parks and Wildlife Service have identified agriculture as one of the principle pressures on the status of our most threatened habitats and species; see (http://www.npws.ie/article-17-reports-0/article-17-reports-2013 )

IWT Campaign Officer Pádraic Fogarty says “Changes in agricultural practices in recent decades have combined with a lack of funding of conservation agencies and a general apathy from government resulting in devastating impacts to our environment. This is can be seen in the pollution of waterways and the disappearance of once-familiar wildlife. While the ‘Origin Green’ marketing campaign is a welcome start in addressing the environmental impacts of food production, we have yet to see any benefit for our wildlife.”

 

Photo: Simon Mortimer [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons