MADRID – The agricultural sector rose on January 23 against the current agricultural policy of the Spanish government. These demonstrations come on top of the polemic that recently arose after violent statements by a Spanish minister about intensive livestock farming.
Protesting farmers and opposition supporters marched through the streets of Madrid on Sunday. They oppose the environmental and economic policies of the centre-left Spanish government. Furthermore, according to them, current policies harm rural regions and villages.
Sunday’s protest was organised by Alma Rural 2021, a platform that brings together more than 500 rural organisations across Spain. Members of right-wing opposition parties also took part in the demonstrations.
Concerns over current Spanish government policy
Carlos Bueno is chairman of Alma Rural 2021. He said the protest is aimed at drawing attention to rural concerns over current government policies. The chairman mainly refers to the price regulation of agricultural products. But also the protection of farmers who keep cattle especially for bullfights, and the increasing subsidies for the industrial sector in rural areas.
Tractors and carts pulled by bulls and horses made their way through the Spanish capital on Sunday. Also, protesters walked through the building of the Ministry of Ecological Transition past the Ministry of Agriculture. Banners carried texts such as ‘The farmers speak, but who is listening?’
Industrial agriculture conflict in Spain has been going on for weeks
The conflict over industrial agricultural policy has dominated the headlines of Spanish newspapers recently. This is after leftist Consumer Affairs Minister Garzón stated that large livestock farms are damaging the environment and producing poor-quality food specifically for export. Furthermore, with his statements, Garzón drew the ire of the agricultural sector in Spain and provoked a political storm that caused divisions within the coalition.
Despite the fact that right-wing opposition parties have been demanding the resignation of the current Minister of Consumer Affairs since the fierce statements, it turned out that three-quarters of Spaniards agree with his stance on intensive livestock farming, according to consumer organisation FACUA.