is this really fair play

I have been reading with interest your coverage of Ireland vs Brazil, which has involved more name-calling than a schoolboy football match. Not that I blame the Brazilians for trying to fight their corner. I am all for supporting local production, but the venomous manner in which the IFA is pursuing a ban on Brazilian imports does raise questions of protectionism. If the IFA was just concerned with ensuring that Brazilian farmers are subject to EU standards, then surely the debate should be over. The Irish have already succeeded in forcing the EC's hand and reducing Brazilian imports to a fraction of their former volume. The fact that they are now calling for a total ban suggests they do not just want a fair playing field - they want to play alone. What really bothers me, though, is the way in which the IFA has jumped on the environmental bandwagon in an attempt to further discredit Brazil. Padraig Walshe has used allegations over the Brazilian beef industry's complicity in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest to justify his call for a ban on Brazilian beef. He seems to have missed the vital point that these allegations refer to processed meat - and that for domestic Brazilian consumption, not the fresh beef he is trying to ban. And I would be fairly confident that Irish livestock are fed on soymeal from South America, the production of which has itself has been linked to massive rainforest deforestation. I would welcome genuine environmental and ethical concerns from Irish farmers, but I object to them clumsily wading into an argument they do not seem to understand for their own commercial gain.

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