Compassion France joined more than 40 organisations including farmers' unions, environmental and animal welfare charities and their supporters in Paris on Sunday to call for an end to intensive farming in France.
The demonstration, organised by a local citizens group, Novissen, which is fighting a mega dairy project in the north of France, started near Gare Montparnasse in central Paris and ended in front of Porte de Versailles exhibition centre, where the International Agricultural show was taking place.
The Agricultural Show, often described as the "biggest farm in France", tends to portray a very idyllic picture of farming in France and abroad, and not reflect the reality that around 80% of animals in Europe are raised in intensive systems.
Whereas pig and poultry farming in France is already very intensive, for example more than 90% of pigs are given very little proper enrichment, the average dairy herd is still around 50 cows, with relatively good access to pasture.
The planned dairy farm in the north of France, proposed by a construction company, was originally looking to have planning permission for a zero-grazing unit for 1,000 dairy cows and a methane digester.
The initial authorisation for this mega dairy project has unfortunately been granted but thanks to pressure from citizens it has a limited scope of 500 cows instead of 1,000 (but with a potential growth to 1,000 over time, as they increase access to land).
Beyond this specific project, Compassion France is working hard to inform the French public and authorities on the many negative impacts of intensive farming: on animals, the environment, farmers' livelihoods, public health, and food inequality.
By raising these issues, we hope to contribute to stopping French dairy farming from intensifying and following the road taken for pigs and poultry, and have a moratorium on the creation of new intensive units.
- Call on EU Commissioner Tonio Borg to propose legislation guaranteeing minimum welfare standards for Europe's dairy cows