Accompanied by protests from farmers and shrimp fishermen, the conference of agriculture ministers in Büsum in Schleswig-Holstein began on Wednesday. First, as usual, the state secretaries wanted to meet before the ministers from the federal and state governments met on Thursday and Friday. According to the Ministry of Agriculture in Kiel, important topics are the further development of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the EU proposal for a regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products and the restructuring of animal husbandry.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture (BMEL) insists on a conversion towards fewer animals per barn. "From the point of view of the BMEL, there is no alternative for companies, the environment and the climate that animal husbandry must be set up for the future," says a statement from the ministry by Cem Özdemir (Greens), which is available to the digital media company "Table.Media". "This includes supporting farmers in keeping fewer animals better, i.e. with more space in the barn." Keeping fewer animals better also contributes to climate and environmental protection. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture will do everything possible to remove the remaining hurdles in the conversion of animal husbandry as quickly as possible.
The ban on bottom trawls is controversial
Özdemir's country colleagues from Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein, on the other hand, emphasized last week that it must not happen "that excessive, impractical requirements and far too little support for animal owners here give up and at the same time more food is imported that is produced under lower animal welfare and environmental standards". In her opinion, the federal government must finally work together with the federal states on the conversion of animal husbandry "in order to prevent a structural break in livestock husbandry in Germany with serious consequences for agriculture and the entire rural area".
Another topic that caused a lot of discussion in the coastal countries ahead of the conference is the EU Commission's plan to ban bottom trawls in protected areas. Both North German state governments and Özdemir are critical of the planned ban. "I don't think the proposed undifferentiated blanket ban on bottom trawls is the right way, because it would have serious consequences for the German shrimp fishery," Özdemir said recently.
Farmers and fishermen wanted to demonstrate on all three days of the conference. On Wednesday, among other things, a tractor demonstration and a joint horn blowing with cutters were planned. According to the police, farmers and fishermen drove to Büsum with around 380 to 400 tractors and around 60 cutters. A highlight of the protests on Thursday will be a cutter demonstration.