INDEPENDENT TD Mattie McGrath has found himself in the firing line from a society advocating veganism, after asking in a Dáil debate if animal rights activists wanted meat-eaters to become cannibals.
Vegan Ireland has taken issue with McGrath’s comments during a debate on the Wildlife Amendment Bill last week, a relatively low-profile piece of legislation which allowed some licensed gun holders to be considered the holders of a valid hunting licence.
During the debate, McGrath took issue with some animal rights groups, saying he was “sick, sore and tired” of receiving abuse emails from them, and accusing some of sticking broken bottles and glasses into the ground before a recent hare coursing event at Clonmel.
On that occasion they had done more harm than good, McGrath suggested, because the shards of glass could cause harm to the animals taking part.
“These people are sick. I would not like to say they are deranged, but they are definitely very sick,” he said, later claiming that some activists wanted to ban the live exports of cattle, and adding:
Are we supposed to become cannibals and eat each other? I am not trying to be funny here.
This evening Vegan Ireland spokesman Roger Yates said McGrath was “in danger of sounding completely out of touch”.
“He studied horticulture in Kildalton College so it is certain that he knows a good deal about the production of vegetables and fruit. What seems uncertain is whether he’s heard of vegans or vegetarians, the former of which eat a wholly plant-based diet,” Yates said.
The group have invited McGrath to “experience and enjoy vegan cuisine at our expense” so that they could prove that a person need not become a cannibal if they cannot eat fish or kill animals.
“However, as a general matter, the main reason for anyone to consider veganism is that it is the right thing to do ethically with regard to how we use and exploit other animals,” Yates added.