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Green Week: Mrs. Klöckner and the angry farmers

The Green Week is for the permanent reflector of the Minister of Agriculture of Klöckner. But tens of thousands of demonstrators show that he does not reach anyone with his smile as a journalist.

By Tamara Anthony, ARD-Hauptstadtstudio in collaboration with Marie von Mallinckrodt

Julia Klöckner in her element: trembling hands, photographic opportunities, the big stage. The Green Week spends the Minister of Agriculture almost under the permanent spotlight: time alongside peasants and cows, sometimes alongside Merkel and the ministers of state agriculture. Even the foreign counterparts came to Berlin for "Davos der Landwirtschaft", as Klöckner likes to say.

Farmers for the agriculture of the "nephews"

The minister has charisma – but he can not convince everyone. More than ten thousand people came to Berlin to protest against the current agricultural policy. "We're tired of it" is the motto of the demo. The demonstration alliance requires that the agricultural industry "in the end the money should be turned off".

Instead, "nephew-friendly" agriculture should be promoted. "Tax money must support farms that protect the environment and the climate and keep our cattle, pigs, or chickens well," said an Alliance spokesperson. Greater animal welfare and sustainable agriculture are a concern for many people in Germany, as demonstrated by numerous surveys.

A controversy: the castration of pigs

Farmer Christian Hain is also rather skeptical when the language reaches Mrs Klöckner. But he did not come to Berlin for the demo. His demonstration is of a different nature: on his farm in Baden-Württemberg, he demonstrates that the Klöckner extension of the castration of two-year-old anesthetic pigs was not necessary.

Hain inoculates his pigs. Twice a syringe and then the cutting of the testes of the pigs becomes superfluous. Only pigs should not be hosted. "The procedure is much faster," explains Hain. Also, now he has to use less antibiotic, after all, piglets no longer have open wounds.

Other countries vaccinate

The vaccine has been in use for 20 years. The body's own production of sexual attractors is suppressed and the male animals no longer develop the unpleasant smell of boar taint for the consumer.

For example, in Belgium, Australia, Brazil are standard. The Federal Institute for Animal Health Research, the Friedrich-Löffler-Institut, does not see any health problems and states that this method is the best way for animal welfare.

"Animal welfare has a constitutional status"

"For years he has worked successfully on alternatives to anesthetic castration, and then on the home stretch due to pressure from the pigs lobby to collapse," annoys Florian Schöne, the general secretary of the umbrella organization of nature, animal organizations and environmental German, DNR. "For years the Basic Law has been violated, because animal welfare has a constitutional status".

In addition to vaccination known as immunocastraction, wild boar fattening is an alternative already practiced. It is exempted from any medical intervention and the animals are kept separate sex. The third option is to stun pigs during surgical castration.

Farmers threatened, Klöckner replied

However, Minister Klöckner was convinced by the farmers that the castration of the pig animal could continue to be practiced. "We want to bring economic efficiency and the welfare of animals in harmony – one with the other and not one against the other", were his words on the 39; topic at the farmers' association last June. Apparently, they have been understood by the agricultural lobby as an invitation to snatch the 2018 deadline from expiration.

The peasants threatened to close the knives and Klöckner replied: Even if they find that anesthetic castration is not good, "but if the production of piglets in the future takes place in foreign countries in conditions that we do not tolerate and import meat, well-being of animals did not serve "the reasoning of the minister.

Another topic for discussion: the policy of agricultural subsidies

The castration of pigs is for Berlin protesters only one of the reasons for their doubts about Minister Klöckner. The strongest is the criticism against the current policy of agricultural subsidies. The farmers came to Berlin with more than 100 tractors. "I can always grow bigger" is written in large letters on a tractor.

Because size is the current logic for most subsidies for farmers: the more the area has the activity, the more money there is. In the summer, the European Commission has published a proposal on how to distribute the money in the future. The fundamental principle is stated: not the benefits for society, such as the promotion of biodiversity, the conservation of water, the protection of the climate, the welfare of animals should be the main criterion for subsidies, but they continue to be the direct payments defined mainly by size.

"The federal government does not dare"

There were no criticisms from Julia Klöckner. "Light and shadow" saw the minister in the proposal of the European Commission. And you want to more closely link direct payments in the future to compliance with environmental and climate regulations.

This does not seem to satisfy the president of the scientific advisory committee from his home. The agricultural scientist prof. Harald Grethe says: "I would like to see the German government in Brussels clearly take a position on a policy clearly oriented towards environmental performance and animal welfare in agriculture, and that payments should be targeted and not with the watering can agricultural ".

It refers to direct payments aimed at stabilizing income as a "historical artifact". The current attitude of the federal government which defines "rather conservative, regarding the receipt of direct payments". It defines the problem as follows: "The federal government does not have the courage to reform it definitively".

It is evident that the professor of the Klöckner advisory committee speaks only of "federal government". The name Julia Klöckner does not fall into her observations. But it is she who is exposed to the lobby of the powerful peasant association. And he wants to continue to keep direct payments.

The Ministry of the Environment interferes

The professor will know that the Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze will not change the subsidy policy. In contrast, Schulze poaching also in the Klöckner area to bring environmental interests into agriculture.

Last week, the Federal Ministry of the Environment organized a congress on agriculture. He shot in the introduction against his ministerial colleague: "I have repeatedly asked my colleague Julia Klöckner to show a clear flag in Brussels," said Schulze. Germany does not represent a coordinated position. "This is why at European level we risk not being heard in Brussels and therefore not being taken into consideration".

The Minister of the Environment Schulze has made it easier to criticize. Do not sit in the back of the agrarian lobby. But at the Agricultural Congress it became clear: many lost hope that Klöckner would reduce their influence.

More information on this topic on Sunday at 6.30 pm in the Berlin report.

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