Farmers Rally Around Welsh Capital In Latest Protest Over Proposed Environmental Rules

Farmers protest outside the Senedd, the Welsh parliament, over planned changes to post Brexit farming subsidies, in Cardiff, Wales, Wednesday Feb. 28, 2024. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)
Farmers protest outside the Senedd, the Welsh parliament, over planned changes to post Brexit farming subsidies, in Cardiff, Wales, Wednesday Feb. 28, 2024. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)
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LONDON (AP) — Tractors lined a road in the Welsh capital Wednesday as thousands of farmers and their supporters thronged the parliament to protest proposed environmental protections that would be required to receive subsidies.

Protesters held signs reading, “No Farmers, No Food,” and “We Will Not Be Mooooved!” as leaders said some 5,500 farmworkers would lose their livelihoods if regulations are passed that would require them to plant trees on 10% of their land and create wildlife habitat on another 10%.

“I’ve got a two-year-old son sitting at home who loves every minute of being on the farm, and I am fighting for his future on that farm," said Ioan Humphreys, a fifth-generation farmer. “Where do the people thinking up these schemes think their food is going to come from?"

The Cardiff demonstration was the latest to roil a European capital as farmers from as far afield as Athens, Warsaw, Madrid and Brussels have turned out by the thousands to protest everything from agricultural rules proposed by the European Union to Ukrainain food imports to Poland.

Other protests have taken place across Wales but the event Wednesday was the largest with an estimated 3,000 joining forces to oppose proposals by the Welsh Labour Government to set land aside for environmental protection and to fight climate change.

Last week U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told farmers gathered outside the Welsh Conservative conference that “we’ve got your back."

A Welsh Government spokesperson said it was consulting with farmers and no decisions had been made on how rules will be rolled out.

“Farming is very important to Wales and our economy and we want a successful future for Welsh farming,” the spokesperson said. “We have had a seven-year conversation with farmers to design future farming support and we are committed to continuing to work with farmers to develop the sustainable farming scheme.”