Optional Irish school initiative to reduce meat and dairy dubbed 'propaganda'

Ireland's environment minister has had to defend an initiative which encourages students to eat less meat and dairy.

Richard Bruton wrote the foreword in An Taisce's Green-Schools programme which looks to tackle the issue of climate change.

A resource pack for teachers was launched this week and, unsurprisingly, farming groups were critical of the initiative.

Irish Farmers Association President Joe Healy said:

"This is beyond the remit of An Taisce and is not consistent with dietary advice given by the Department of Health, the competent authority, on balanced diets.
"Farmers are extremely angry that packs like this would be distributed in schools advising students to consume less meat and dairy when both are an important part of a balanced diet.
"What our children are taught in school should be based on scientific findings proofed by the appropriate state agencies and government departments."

The Irish environment minister has now responded to the criticism of the resource, which to confirm is OPTIONAL.

He said, "this is an important debate that young people are leading and we must show that we are capable of making the changes and providing a road map for people to follow.”

One of the initiatives mentioned in the programme is the idea of "meatless Monday's" which are also being rolled out in New York City.

A spokesperson for the Green-Schools programme refused to apologise for unveiling this resource.

They added that, "its availability to download has been promoted. It is a complementary resource for teachers taking part in this optional, voluntary programme."

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