Factory farming dispute upsets Spain’s coalition government | Today Headlines

Factory farming dispute upsets Spain’s coalition government

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Factory-farming feud sparks tensions within center-left coalition government in Spain

MADRID – A row over factory farming sparks tensions within Spain’s center-left coalition government, with the agriculture minister calling criticism from the consumer minister of the country’s livestock industry on Tuesday of “very unhappy”.

Consumer Minister Alberto Garzón told British newspaper The Guardian in an interview last month that intensive livestock farming is “unsustainable”, damages the environment and produces poor quality products.

“They find a village in a depopulated part of Spain and put 4,000, 5,000 or 10,000 head of cattle there,” Garzón said. “They pollute the soil, they pollute the water and then they export this shoddy meat from these mistreated animals.”

Garzón’s comments sparked a storm, with representatives of the livestock industry and opposition parties demanding his resignation.

Agriculture Minister Luis Planas said on Tuesday he regretted the controversy over a major domestic industry. He said Spain is the European Union’s fourth largest exporter of cattle and meat.

He told Onda Cero radio that government ministers normally consult each other before taking a stand on overlapping national issues, adding that Garzón had not approached him until the newspaper interview.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez also defended the livestock sector, while Second Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Díaz – the senior member of United We Can in the coalition – urged her colleagues to weigh their words carefully and to ” take care ”of the coalition.

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