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Thousands protest industrial agriculture during Green Week

The Local · 22 Jan 2011, 14:41

Published: 22 Jan 2011 14:41 GMT+01:00

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More than 120 groups representing farmers, animal rights activists and food businesses organised the demonstration, with a message for policymakers: "We've had it! No to genetic engineering, factory farms and export dumping."

The protesters planned to march from Berlin's main train station to the Brandenburg Gate, where a final rally and a concert were planned Saturday afternoon. Earlier, farmers demonstrated in front of the entrance to the annual International Green Week, or Grüne Woche , trade fair.

This year's Green Week opened to the public on Friday. Organisers expected the event to draw some 400,000 people through January 30. More than 1,600 exhibitors from 57 countries are presenting products and services at Green Week 2011.

The event comes as the dioxin scandal in Germany has shaken consumer confidence in the safety and quality of the country's foodstuffs. The discovery of animal feed tainted with the carcinogenic compound led some countries to block German pork and egg imports.

German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner toured Green Week on opening day, telling journalists at the event that it's important to show that the dioxin-contaminated foods "are not the reality in Germany."

Accompanying Aigner was Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, who called for speedy implementation of the government's 14-point plan to prevent similar disasters in the future, saying the goal should be to provide as much protection for consumers as possible.

Story continues below…

Ending the officials' tour of the event, the EU Commission's Director-General for Health and Consumers, Paola Testori Coggi, said Aigner's response to the dioxin discovery showed that the European Union's system of controls was effective.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:15 January 22, 2011 by Kayak
"[dioxin contaminated animal feed scandals] are not the reality in Germany." Oops!!! Wrong again Frau Aigner. (although to be fair it could be a fault on translation).
00:38 January 23, 2011 by teutonic-knight
@ Kayak, don't mix things up please! Dioxin contamination is a mistake and it will be fixed and higher regulations will be put. Natural farming goes back 7000 to 10000 years ago and so far it has helped Germany and Europe succeed.

These farmers did the right to protest because the Genetic engineering has many draw backs not only for the health of the people but for economy. For example if they bring Genetic engineered corn from other countries, this not only could have many yet unknown bad health effects, but it will bring down the price of cron, and it will damage many hard working farm workers who work with corn and this cycle damages Germany. You must remember everything in the country is a cycle and it depends on other things. To have a strong country, we must strengthen it internally first.
10:07 January 23, 2011 by catjones
@teutonic-knight...care to share your sources for the many drawbacks you mention, including the yet unknown bad health effects?
17:02 January 23, 2011 by Zerrakk
Without Gm grains, there is no way to feed a growing world population. Yields have improved by a third in the last 10 years as a result here in USA. Already grain stocks are shrinking. Imagine what it would be like, foodwise, if yields were reduced by lack of GMO's. Europe is very behind the curve in this regard...My 2¢
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