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Berlin, Jan 18, 2014. In a very colorful march about 30.000 people demonstrated with the slogan “We are fed up!” against critical aspects of industrialized agriculture.
The topics were as diverse as the participants and the speakers on the podium: Mass production of meat and crops and its effects on farmers, consumers, the environment and animals: massive use of antibiotics, hormones and chemicals in meat production, genetically modified crops, socially irresponsible mass cultivation of crops for biofuel or meat production in poor countries, export of subsidized crops to mainly agricultural countries which destroys their small scale farmers.
Vegans walked besides farmers and environmental activists besides people who are concerned with poverty reduction in a unique peaceful and creative protest. The rally was led by 70 tractors, accompanied by a rope a few hundred meters long on which people could leave their wishes and demands and overall many young people, children, families were present.
Besides the founder of the international Slow Food Organisation, Carlo Petrini, and several representatives of farmers associations, and environmental and consumer rights activists, also Francis Ngang from Ivory Coast spoke. He was giving testimony of the destruction of the markets in his country by the massive import of cheap soy beans for animal food production for meat consumed in rich countries.
The main focus of the protest was on the negotiations for the free trade treaty between the EU and the USA. According to the protesters, the interest of the US is to introduce their low consumer protection standards into EU states. They fear the loss of standards in the EU that they have been fighting for for decades. Instead they demand improvement of EU standards in support of ecologically and socially balanced agriculture instead of further industrialization of agriculture.
by Johanna Heuveling, correspondent Caroline Schenck,