Wir Haben Agrarindustries Satt. We Are Fed Up!
A Chat Jochen Fritz, event coordinator and press mediator of Wir Haben Agra industries Satt… (We are fed up with agricultural industries..)
This Saturday in Berlin thousands will take to the streets for a peaceful demonstration. Amongst those will be farmers, environmentalists, animal activists and consumers. Together they seek to save rural and organic agriculture from the hands of big corporations, fighting to regain a fair and environmentally viable food system.
What are the main motives behind the rise of ‘We Are Fed Up With Agricultural Industry?
Industrialisation of farming has reached unprecedented levels. We are witnessing battery farms with almost 450,000 chickens, pig farms with in excess of 57,000 pigs, and it would impossible to suggest animal welfare standards are being met on such a scale. The detriment to the land because of these enormous farms is simply unacceptable. Farmers need our support to engage with the political system in order to prevent the rise of more mega agricultural corporations. Otherwise we will see a decline in small local farms, reduction in organic produce and our environmental resources will be put under immense strain.
Why should we be interested about the demonstration on Saturday?
Farmers, environmentalists, animal welfare members and consumers will be in attendance. The threat to the agricultural industry is very real and its effects are far reaching. Everyone from local farmers here in Germany to Indian milk farmers will be affected by the outcome. And at stake is our health, animal welfare standards and the environment.
Should only farmers be concerned about the future of the agricultural industries here in Europe?
No not at all. This will undeniably affect everyone. The question of who will feed us in the future is a very important one. Will we let our farmers continue to do it, or will we pass it onto large international industries. Knowing that the latter is likely to support and promote GMO crops, and hormone-laden meat, it is in our interest to preserve farming here in Germany.
What can we do?
Consumer buying power is an extremely important thing. We as individuals at the end of the day have the choice on what we eat and drink. This essentially equates to who and what we support.
What roles will TTIP, FTA & CETA play in the future of agricultural industries in Germany & Europe? And should we be concerned?
Essentially we would expect a lowering of consumer standards if TTIP or any other trade deal would pass. In Europe we would suddenly be at risk of GM crops and hormone injected beef saturating the market. It is not that we don’t approve of trade, rather we want fair trade opposed to free trade.
International Green Week commences this Friday; do you expect the agricultural ministers to be influenced by the demonstration this weekend?
Yes they are currently reacting to our efforts and the momentum behind the demonstration. We have a meeting with the agricultural ministry today. They recognise that civil society wants to take another direction.
What one thing would you like to see come from the demonstration?
A fast reaction to tackle the current milk crisis. As it stands milk production costs sits at 20cent more per litre than the sale price. We are loosing milk farmers every year, and urgently need a system that allows the farmers to regulate the market themselves. Otherwise thousands of farmers’ lives and livelihoods will be in jeopardy.
Lastly, the agricultural industry is largely held accountable as one of the main culprits of global climate change. Would it be fair to say more radical action is required to tackle climate change, opposed to say, fighting for fairer prices on meat and diary products?
Yes, Absolutely. We need to reduce our meat consumption drastically. Not only that but we must strive for grass fed livestock. The currently system of feeding animals on soy and other grains is wiping out our rainforests at an alarming pace. It simply does not fit in with the plan to save the planet.
If you would like to show your support the demonstration will be held this Saturday 16th, and will commence from 12pm at Potsdammer Platz.
By Liam McGuckin