Revolutionaries shut ‘industrialized’ farming beneath Angela Merkel

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People calling for agriculture policy revolution drove tractors through Berlin and renewed their rejection of Germany’s ecologically ruinous farm and food sectors.

Protesters drove a tractor over a sign stating, “15 years of CDU agricultural policy leave traces: farmyard closures, price dumping, climate crisis.” That tractor was one of 30 that

took part in a demonstration in Berlin on Saturday against the agriculture policy maintained by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing Christian Democratic Union (CDU) over the last decade and a half.

German farmers and activists protest during green week in Berlin
GERMAN FFARMERS AND ACTIVISTS PROTEST DURING GREEN WEEK IN

In addition to protesting against Germany’s current farm and food policies, they said they also wanted to get voters’ attention ahead of six state elections and a federal parliamentary vote coming up in 2021.

From the CDU party headquarters, protesters then headed to the Chancellery to an outdoor display of 10,000 footprints from other reformists who had stayed home because of coronavirus safeguards.

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Protest tractors heading to the German Chancellery “Cheap food is a blind alley that doesn’t benefit the rural economy nor consumers,” said Saskia Richartz, spokesperson for a 60-group civil society alliance, including biodynamic farmers, environmentalists and charities that seek sweeping agricultural policy change.

German farmers and activists protest during green week in Berlin

Under the motto “We are fed up” (Wir haben es satt), the alliance, along with the EU-level  Good Food Good Farming  campaign, has long demanded reduced animal numbers in farm stalls, less meat consumption, and a halt to genetically modified foodstuffs and the use of pesticides blamed for insect depletion.

Klöckner said it was self-evident that agriculture would have to become sustainable. In August, she hosted EU farm ministers in Koblenz, drawing protests by Good Food Good Farming advocates.

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Multiple elections pending Saturday’s protest precedes next week’s online version of Berlin’s traditional Green Week trade fair. Last year the event drew 27,000 protesters.

Protesters were also hoping to draw the voters’ attention to agriculture policy this year, which will see several German six regional assembly elections as well as a federal parliamentary general election in September.

The first two state elections are set for March 14 in Rhineland Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg, two southwestern regions with extensive farming, forestry and winemaking. Klöckner is a former Palatinate wine promoter.

German farmers and activists protest during green week in Berlin
GERMAN FARMERS AND ACTIVISTS PROTEST DURING GREEN WEEK IN BERLIN

German environmentalists are ‘fed up’ Around 27,000 people protested Saturday in Berlin for environmentally friendly agriculture policy,

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according to organizers. The protests, planned by the coalition “wir haben es satt!” (we’re fed up), coincide with International Green Week, a major agriculture and food fair that started on Friday.

German farmers and activists protest during green week in Berlin
GERMAN FARMERS AND ACTIVISTS PROTEST DURING GREEN WEEK IN BERLIN

Show them the money Activists wave euro notes at a demonstrator dressed like EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Farmers are asking for more EU support to subsidize sustainable agriculture. Parallel to the trade fair, government representatives from 70 countries also attended an agricultural ministers’ conference hosted by German Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner.

German farmers and activists protest during green week in Berlin
GERMAN FARMERS AND ACTIVISTS PROTEST DURING GREEN WEEK IN BERLIN

More protection for animals Environmental and animal rights activists also protested on

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Saturday, demanding new government agricultural policies to ensure animal welfare and restrictions on the use of pesticides to protect insect.

German farmers and activists protest during green week in Berlin
GERMAN FFARMERS AND ACTIVISTS PROTEST DURING GREEN WEEK IN BERLIN

Farmers for the future Farmers staged their own demonstration as more than 150 tractors left Brandenburg Gate and rolled through the streets of the German capital. Their protest movement blames the German government for dying farms and “frustration” in the countryside. Since 2005, an estimated 130,000 farms in Germany have closed.

German farmers and activists protest during green week in Berlin
GERMAN FARMERS AND ACTIVISTS PROTEST DURING GREEN WEEK IN BERLIN.

Farmers ‘bear the burden’ Farmers also clogged streets in cities across Germany on Friday. They protested against government regulations demanded by environmental activists, including food labeling and pesticide reduction. “Don’t forget that farmers feed you” and “No farm, no food, no future”, some posters read. Lawmakers are caught between farmers and climate activists, who say reforms don’t go far enough.

German farmers and activists protest during green week in Berlin
GERMAN FARMERS AND ACTIVISTS PROTEST DURING GREEN WEEK IN BERLIN

An constant struggle German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze has admitted it’s impossible to “keep pushing [food] prices down while demanding high quality and environmental protection at the same time.” Schulze added EU support is necessary to fulfill both expectations. Brussels has seen multiple protests by the agrifood sector, including this one in 2009 when French farmers decried falling milk prices.

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