Dublin Bus unjustly accused of ‘thrashing Irish agriculture’ with veganism adverts

20th January 2023

Dublin Bus was accused of ‘thrashing Irish agriculture’ by Independent Cork South-West TD, Michael Collins, as reported in Agriland farming news.

“…these posters and advertisements have been labelled “highly misleading and toxic” by Deputy Collins, who said they “state that Irish agriculture is the single worst offender in terms of greenhouse gases and that only a diet free of animal products can be the solution to this”.

The Cork South-West TD said that by carrying these posters “Dublin Bus is enabling the thrashing of Irish agriculture for paltry advertising revenue”.

He added that the state-owned transport company is sending a contradicting message to other state-owned companies such as Bord Bia, which promotes Irish farming and food.

“This fanatical, absurd and context-free advertising promotes a highly damaging narrative.

“[It] completely neglects to present the overwhelming environmental benefits that Irish farmers and Irish agriculture bring to the cultivation and nourishing of our land,” the deputy added.”

It is time that Government Ministers and farming bodies woke up to the harm they are causing. The Go Vegan World ad on contributions to GHG emissions in Ireland are anything but misleading. The context for our ad is the recent EPA reports on contributions to GHGs in Ireland. The EPA reports state:

Agriculture is the single largest contributor to the overall emissions, at 37.5%. Transport, energy industries and the residential sector are the next largest contributors, at 17.7%, 16.7% and 11.4%, respectively (https://www.epa.ie/…/climate…/ghg/latest-emissions-data/)

The agriculture sector is responsible for the largest sectoral contribution to the total emissions. Within that, enteric fermentation, and manure management account for over 70% of the agriculture emissions. (https://www.epa.ie/publications/monitoring–assessment/climate-change/air-emissions/irelands-provisional-greenhouse-gas-emissions-1990-2021.php/?fbclid=IwAR25JrL0rNtSAGz1xvIMZiL74j4afPwNZfl3wXnS_Ub9f5GttL-tamL-MCA)

These reports are referenced on the ad. Furthermore, they reflect global statistics. The latest United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) data finds that 31 per cent of human-caused GHG emissions, originate from the world’s agri-food systems (https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/11/1105172)

Members of the public are entitled to factual information. Furthermore, the ads do not ‘thrash Irish agriculture’. They invite us to change how we farm by transitioning to plant based agriculture and more environmentally friendly, non-animal based methods of meeting our needs. At the micro level, a plant diet is a crucial component of veganism so if Irish people transitioned to a plant diet and if Irish farmers were encouraged to transition to non-animal based farming, this would be a solution to the current level of emissions. At the macro level, veganism rejects the speciesist, supremacist notion that humans are the only species that matters. It recognises that other animals are as entitled to the earth’s resources as we are. Therefore, the anti-speciesist view is also an important solution to the current environmental and climate catastrophe. In a vegan world, humans would not engage in any action that harmed other animals or the resources they depend on for their survival.