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Dutch Farmers Stage New Revolt Against Climate Change Restrictions

Agribashing: French farmers under attack

Postby smix » Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:38 pm

Agribashing: French farmers under attack
France24

URL: https://www.france24.com/en/20191004-fr ... ate-health
Category: Politics
Published: October 4, 2019

Description: France remains Europe's leading agrarian nation, but growing awareness regarding pesticides, animal welfare and the environmental impact of farming has led to a serious disconnect between the French and their agricultural roots. Caught between changing consumer demands and never-ending financial constraints, French farmers are left struggling. Some are even victims of a new phenomenon known as agribashing: insults, smears and attacks posted by activists on social media. We take a closer look.





French tractors roll into Paris to protest against 'agri-bashing'
France24

URL: https://www.france24.com/en/20191127-fr ... ri-bashing
Category: Politics
Published: November 27, 2019

Description: Up to a thousand tractors will block roads in Paris on Wednesday as French farmers protest against government policies and international trade agreements which they say are hurting their businesses and living standards.



Farmers unions said members heading to the capital from across France would converge on Avenue Foch, near the Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe, later on Wednesday. “The government is leaving us exposed, let us work,” one farmer wrote on his tractor. The demonstration is being staged by the two main farm unions, which called for a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron to express concerns about government policies they say harm French agriculture. “We want to warn everyone that if there are no more farmers in France it has a knock on effect on the French economy,” 29-year-old farmer Alix Heurtaut told Reuters in an interview earlier this week. Resentment among farmers has been growing at what they call “agri-bashing”, or criticism of agriculture over issues ranging from pesticide use to animal welfare.
Attacks by vegan activists
Attacks on livestock farms and butcher’s shops by vegan activists have caused particular outrage. Longstanding tensions with environmental associations have meanwhile deepened amid debates about banning the common weedkiller glyphosate and restricting pesticide use near residential areas. Some farmers blame Macron for rushing to ban glyphosate by 2021, going beyond current European Union policy, although the government has promised exemptions for farms that have no viable alternative. Macron has also been under pressure from farmers over EU trade deals with Canada and the Mercosur bloc of South American countries, which farming groups say will usher in imports of cheaper agricultural goods produced to lower standards. A food law passed by Macron’s government, which aimed to give farmers a fairer share of profits, has also failed to dispel discontent over modest revenues. Farm unions are gearing up for negotiations over the next EU budget, which could see agricultural spending trimmed due to Britain’s planned exit from the bloc. France is the largest agricultural producer in the EU and the biggest beneficiary of subsidies under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.
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Dutch Farmers Wreak Traffic Chaos in Tractor-Powered Protest

Postby smix » Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:48 pm

Dutch Farmers Wreak Traffic Chaos in Tractor-Powered Protest
Courthouse News Service

URL: https://www.courthousenews.com/dutch-fa ... d-protest/
Category: Politics
Published: October 1, 2019

Description: THE HAGUE, Netherlands (CN) – Tractor-driving farmers descended on the Dutch capital Tuesday morning, creating the worst traffic congestion in the county’s history to protest calls to reduce emissions by drastically cutting the number of farm animals. Thousands turned out on the Malieveld, a field in The Hague that is frequently the site of protests, in heavy rain. Many farmers drove their tractors to the site as part of the protest. A recent ruling by a Dutch court invalidated a government policy that allowed farmers and other companies to defer offsetting nitrogen emissions. Under European Union regulations, the release of nitrogen into the environment is restricted in protected areas. Most of the problematic emissions in the Netherlands come from the agricultural sector, and last week a member of one of the government’s coalition parties called for reducing the number of pigs and chickens in the country by half. “Some 70% of the dangerous nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands comes from livestock and intensive farming. At the same time, factory farming contributes less than 1% to the economy. The balance is completely wrong,” parliamentarian Tjeerd de Groot told the national newspaper the AD. The country is governed by a center-right four-party government. Ee Groot is from the coalition’s only left-leaning party, the D66. Sheep farmer Bart Kemp initiated the protest, calling on fellow farmers to join in demonstrating against what he felt was a smear campaign by the government. Protesters planned for 45 tractors to be parked on the Malieveld. However, by noon, the number had swelled to over 400 tractors, and police directed farmers to park in an overflow lot at a local football stadium and on the nearby beach. Politicians, as well as Kemp, spoke to the soggy crowd. Agriculture minister Carola Schouten told the cheering crowd “No farmers, no food,” a slogan that appeared on many signs at the protest. Kemp had harsher words for Schouten, telling her directly, “When you started two years ago, you promised clarity, but the ambiguity has never been so great. We are done with it.” The crowd let their feelings for de Groot, whose remarks prompted the protests, be known as well. He was booed by the crowd, which until then had been mostly cheerful, and only spoke for a few minutes before organizers intervened. Jesse Klaver, leader of the GroenLinks (Green Left) was also shouted down by the crowd, which made obscene gestures. A small counterprotest of animal rights activists took place nearby. Dutch traveler’s association ANWB reported the tractor protest created the largest traffic jam in the country’s history. By 8:30 a.m., there were over 685 miles of traffic jams across the nation’s motorways. The ANWB also predicted a heavy evening rush hour, as the protesters headed home late in the afternoon. The weather forecast called for thunderstorms and hail, worsening traffic congestion. Police arrested at least three protesters for disregarding traffic rules. Dutch children also took to the streets, riding their pedal-powered toy tractors in protest.



Dutch Farmers Snarl Traffic in Latest Protest of Emissions Cuts
Courthouse News Service

URL: https://www.courthousenews.com/dutch-fa ... ions-cuts/
Category: Politics
Published: October 16, 2019

Description: THE HAGUE, Netherlands (CN) – Backing up traffic for the second time in as many weeks, Dutch farmers driving tractors staged a nationwide protest Wednesday over the government’s attempt to lower emissions by limiting the number of farm animals. At least seven people were arrested during the multi-city protest as an estimated 3,000 farmers demanded a change in nitrogen emission regulations and called for the government to listen to them. Wednesday’s protest started at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, or RIVM, in Bilthoven, a small town in the center of the country. The RIVM is the agency responsible for the environmental calculations used to assess emissions, which the farmers claim are incorrect. Farmers began demonstrating two weeks ago, following suggestions from politicians that they would need to reduce the amount of livestock to meet European Union emissions standards. Farmers also staged local protests on Monday, with one group bashing in the door of the city hall in Groningen with a tractor. Jeroen van Maanen, a member of the Farmers Defense Force, which organized the protest, told the crowd of 3,000, “A decision based on lies, assumptions, and emotions is being made that drives the entire agricultural sector closer to the brink of collapse.” The RIVM disputes this. Its director, Hans Brug, addressed the farmers as well. “The calculations are made as carefully and robustly as possible,” he said before being escorted away by the police. He is now under police protection because threats have been made against his life. The protesters had originally wanted to gather in front of RIVM headquarters but had to be moved to a nearby sports field due to safety concerns. Following that demonstration, the farmers drove their tractors to The Hague, where they again protested on the Malieveld, a field in the center of the city where protests often occur. By then, the crowd swelled to 20,000. Protesters were again told that they couldn’t park their vehicles on the field, which they ignored. An estimated 8,000 tractors were parked on the field by the afternoon. The farmers also ignored other public safety regulations, shutting down traffic on highways and driving on tram tracks in the city. “It was not safe enough for us to stand there,” a police spokesperson said, referring to an incident where tractors drove through a police barricade on a highway outside The Hague. The city requested assistance from the army to block streets and help with crowd control. Farmers also disregarded orders not to protest in front of the Binnenhof, the complex with the Dutch parliament building. “We see demonstrating farmers trying to come to the Binnenhof. I urge everyone to adhere to the agreements made. Do not go to the Binnenhof,” Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus said in a tweet. Protesters on the Malieveld were excited by the turnout. One man called it “spectacular.” Another farmer, Wissel Hoekstra, said, “We are not supported by the government. They need to be realistic in their demands. I hope they will listen to us after today.” Speeches started late in the afternoon. The crowd gathered in the rain to hear Thierry Baudet, leader of the far-right Forum for Democracy party, who said farmers in the Netherlands had been abandoned. Sieta van Keimpema of the Farmers Defense Force agreed, shouting “shame” for the behavior of the government. It was known that there would be a surprise guest, who turned out to be far-right politician Geert Wilders. Wilders had spent his morning in court, facing charges of inciting racial hatred from a 2014 incident. He opened his speech by asking the crowd if they wanted “more or fewer nitrogen regulations.” He asked a nearly identical question five years, but rather than regulations, he asked a crowd of supporters if they wanted more or fewer Moroccan immigrants. That question is what landed him in court. Protest organizers wished the crowd a safe trip back home but many opted to stay in The Hague. Farmers planned an after-party and many planned to spend the night in the city. The evening rush hour included delays around the city and a nearby Cirque du Soleil event was canceled.



Dutch Court Blocks Supermarket Protest Planned by Farmers
Courthouse News Service

URL: https://www.courthousenews.com/dutch-co ... y-farmers/
Category: Politics
Published: December 17, 2019

Description: LELYSTAD, Netherlands (CN) – Dutch farmers can protest emissions cuts but they cannot block the country’s food supply ahead of Christmas, a court in the Netherlands ruled Tuesday. “These sorts of actions…would cause severe damage. Not only for the supermarkets but also for consumers and health care facilities,” Central Netherlands Court Judge Remco Hoekstra said in a statement. In a statement posted on Facebook in response to the ruling, the Farmers Defense Force, or FDF, said, “We have been silenced,” but instructed its members to abide by the judge’s instructions. The farmers’ advocacy group had been threatening to block food distribution centers in the Netherlands ahead of the Christmas holiday. Farmers have been protesting since October over a Dutch court ruling earlier this year that invalidated a government policy allowing farmers and others to defer offsetting nitrogen emissions. Under European Union regulations, the release of nitrogen into the environment is restricted in protected areas. Most of the problematic emissions in the Netherlands come from the agricultural sector. Dutch leaders have said farmers will need to reduce their amount of livestock to meet EU emissions standards. In November, the government announced it will reduce the speed limit on highways as one partial solution. In an interview with the national newspaper – the Algemeen Dagblad, or the AD – Jeroen van Maanen, one of the leaders of the FDF, said Monday, “With a little rebellion, we hope for a breakthrough in nitrogen rules.” In response, the Centraal Bureau Levensmiddelenhandel, or CBL, an interest group that represents supermarket owners, filed a lawsuit to prevent farmers’ from disrupting supermarket distribution centers. “It is senseless that the consumer be confronted with empty shelves, an empty refrigerator and an austere Christmas meal,” the CBL wrote in a public letter to the FDF. Following the announcement of the lawsuit, the FDF said its members would not protest at food distribution centers. Their lawyer, Erik van der Goot, called the blockades “fake news” and said it was never part of the plan. However, in a letter obtained by the Dutch public broadcaster NOS, the FDF listed 45 distribution centers as potential locations for a protest, including the centers for the largest supermarket chains in the country. The farmers are still planning some type of protest action on Wednesday, the nature of which will not be announced until that morning. Another FDF leader, Mark van den Oever, told the NOS that the group hadn’t planned to protest against the CBL initially but now the organization was “higher on their list.” If the farmers ignore the court order and block food distribution centers, they will be fined 100,000 euros, or $115,000, per day per location.
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