Tuesday, March 28

“Enough of showing off”: The rural world presses on the street in defense of the countryside, hunting and its traditions

In the middle of a perfect storm, with the protests of the carriers and the shortage problems that they are causing, with the rise in fuel, electricity and cereals in the background, the rural world has demonstrated this Sunday in the heart of Madrid . A protest that, in addition to economic demands, has also been tinged with social and political demands. “Enough of bragging”, has been heard during the massive march, which was attended, among others, by Santiago Abascal, leader of the far-right formation Vox, the spokesperson for the PP, Cuca Gamarra, Esteban González Pons, MEP of the same formation and appointed by Feijóo to organize the new party congress, and the bullfighter Julián López, the July.

The war in Ukraine opens the debate on food sovereignty in the face of the lack of cereals and the rise in prices

Know more

With more than 45 tractors, tens of thousands of people have chanted slogans in defense of the field. Although the war in Ukraine has been one of the causes that has exacerbated the situation, there have not been too many allusions to the conflict. The main agrarian organizations (Asaja, COAG and UPA) together with the Royal Spanish Hunting Federation or the Union of Criadores del Toro de Lidia, among others, had called the demonstration with the aim of making “an appeal to the entire rural world, to those who wish to preserve the traditions and uses and customs of our countryside and to those who wish to support the existence of a living rural world”.

The problem of costs and respect for the rural world

The call, by these organizations, through the ’20Mrural’ platform, has coincided with a combination of circumstances that is affecting the countryside, the producers, with increases in fuels, fertilizers, phytosanitary products or cereals. “We are in a very complicated situation, because we come from the second half of 2021 where prices had already risen,” UPA Secretary General Lorenzo Ramos explained to elDiario.es.

“Now the war in Ukraine has put us in an even more difficult situation. Before, prices, for example of fertilizers, had already doubled; And now they are even more expensive. A year ago, agricultural diesel was at 0.40 or 0.45 euros [el litro]now it is more than 1.4”, he argues.

But they are problems that, although aggravated, come from afar. Ángeles Santos, a rancher from Zamora, explains that, before the outbreak of COVID, producers were already feeling the pressure of prices on their costs, but that the protests and their demands for the pandemic stopped. “We were already experiencing a complicated situation, we cannot sell below what it costs us to produce,” she insists.

Ángeles explains that, by dedicating herself to organic farming, at the moment she has pasture to be able to feed her sheep, but that the problems –given the rise in cereals– she will have especially when grass begins to be scarce, in May or June . And that, in the background of this Sunday’s demonstration, there is also the demand for greater respect for the rural world.

“They are expelling us. It is not this government, also the previous ones. I was raised to go to the city. At school they taught us traffic lights but no one gave us agricultural training. It was my parents who educated me and my brothers in the pride of being farmers and ranchers. I have a degree in Business Administration and Management and decided to live in rural areas, but we have to build bridges with the urban world, so that each other knows what is there”.

Against exclusionary environmental legislation and in favor of hunting

Among the twenty demands of the conveners is “the implementation of a shock plan in the face of the increase in agricultural production costs and the application of the Food Chain Law to guarantee that prices cover production costs.” But they also require measures against depopulation, the lack and loss of public and private services or “public policies with an urban vision away from rural areas.”

They understand that it is implementing “exclusive environmental legislation without a social vision, a disoriented animal welfare law, an unsatisfied problem in terms of water, a contempt for extensive livestock farming favoring the uncontrolled expansion of the wolf and new speculative investments that cause more depopulation”.

Regarding hunting, they consider that public policies represent an “attack on the waterline”. It is “disregarding an activity that generates economy, fixes employment and livelihoods for many rural populations, which provides enormous social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits, strongly rooted in Spanish culture,” say the organizers.

“These are problems that this Government must solve” in the face of “a constant lack of respect for those who occupy 84% of our territory,” they claim in their manifesto ahead of a demonstration that will be attended by representatives of the PP, Vox and Cs.