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Sometimes New Year’s goals are cut short as soon as you start. The case of the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, is one of them. This 2022 promised for him to become, perhaps, the cycle with which to escape the queue of the worst valued by the Government, but it has started badly. It could even be said that he has choked it.

The coordinator of Izquierda Unida has started the year as the Government’s favorite focus of criticism, in this case, due to his statements during an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian last December 26. In his own words, the minister assured that “the model of macro-meat farms, which he accused of exporting, is” not at all sustainable “poor quality meat from abused animals”.

In reality, Garzón’s controversy with meat is already raining heavily, and only half a year ago the minister had already warned against “the excessive consumption of meat” because, as he suggested, “it harms our health and that of the planet.” Then even Pedro Sanchez he had to step out and discredit his fellow government armed with his unbeatable steak. Now, the criticism comes straight from the root: from the farmers.

Alberto Garzón, Minister of Consumer Affairs of the Government of Spain

It is true that Garzón’s intervention in the English newspaper goes into nuances that may be difficult to distinguish, but not for those who are dedicated to this business. The minister criticizes, above all, the sustainability of the macro-farms, of which he indicates that “they find a town a little depopulated in Spain and put 4,000, or 5,000, or 10,000 head of cattle [y] they pollute the soil, they pollute the water and they export this meat of poor quality ”. Industry representatives have been quick to respond.

Despite the fact that the Government has already been unmarked by the mouth of the Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Pilar Alegría, the field is trilling. Associations such as UPA and Asaja, two of the most representative agrarian unions, have demanded the dismissal of the minister or his rectification in the face of these statements, which they say “attack again” the image of Spain around the world. On the farms, the opinion is the same.

“We’re tired”

In this sense, Jorge Izquierdo asks his own questions. In Colmenar Viejo (Madrid) he maintains a farm of indigenous cows and sheep with more than 3,300 head in total. Rancher since he was eight years old, when he began to learn the trade from his father, his grandfather, “and all the above until we can remember,” he fears that the meat business that has always supported his family will die with him.

“The problem with hatred of meat and these types of statements is that they create a culture that does a lot of damage,” he explains. “None of our children want to be ranchers, and in part it is because they tell them that eating meat is wrong. When we fail and they miss us it will be too late, “he laments.

Some of Jorge's sheep, in Colmenar Viejo.

Some of Jorge’s sheep, in Colmenar Viejo.

AND AND

Jorge refers to the criticism that the minister makes of the meat industry in relation to climate change. In this regard, Garzón later made ugly -in an interview with SER string the same afternoon of the controversy – the role of macro-farms as excessively polluting and the excessive consumption of meat.

“We are very tired of him only telling us that meat is bad and attacking us. I think it would be more interesting to defend the products of your country, which are also very good, and give us a hand from time to time instead of criticizing us” , ugly the rancher. “It is very good to say that animals harm climate change, and it is true, but as absolutely everything, including agriculture. Why attack only us? “

It also defends that the work of its cattle also helps to improve the environment. His sheep, for example, with “fire engines” and clean the mountains of the Community of Madrid to prevent fires and dirt, in addition to creating meadows that “absorb” the pollution from cars.

“It is very good that he prefers extensive livestock farming, but only with it I would not give feed all of Spain, much less to export everything we export “, he reflects.” In addition, for such livestock to exist, intensive livestock is needed, which is the one that takes the meat and finishes it off so that they are in perfect condition for consumption. ”

Pedro's pig farm.

Pedro’s pig farm.

AND AND

“I invite you to my farm”

In Cantimpalos (Segovia), Pedro Matarranz he’s angry. A pig farmer and rancher, he leads more than 800 head of pigs on a farm that he inherited from his parents. In a telephone conversation with EL ESPAÑOL, he does not understand the minister’s statements.

“The health and animal welfare regulations that we have in Spain cannot be compared with any European country. Now they say that what Garzón said is in a personal capacity, but it is that he is a minister 24 hours a day: you cannot minister when you are interested and when you do not stop being so, “he says. “It is doing enormous damage to the entire sector, especially because of the image we leave to the rest of the countries.”

Pedro.

As far as he is concerned, the Spanish pig sector exports to 130 countries around the world. In their eyes, this influence of the country’s livestock could be diminished if, from the outside, they see that the Minister of Consumption himself “Smear” our products. He hopes that this is not the case, since “the quality is very high and we are highly recognized”, but you never know.

“Tomorrow I invite you to come to my farm to see if I mistreat the pigs. They have a quality of life that many people would like, and whoever says otherwise is that they have not seen us work or how we take care of the animals ”, he laments. “They are our life, we comply with everything to the letter and we take great care of their well-being: I do not understand what this is about now.”

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