Environmentalists protest Argentina-China pork pact
Buenos Aires, Aug 25 (EFE).- Ecological organizations protested on Wednesday in Buenos Aires against an agreement being negotiated between Argentina and China for the large-scale production of pork in the South American country.
The environmentalist groups gathered before the Chinese Embassy in the Argentina capital, where they expressed their rejection of the pork pact and warned about the “collapse” the planet is approaching due to the climate and ecological crisis.
Flavia Broffoni, an activist with the Rebelion o Extincion Argentina organization, said that the accord with China will mean “developing the biggest animal industrialization project in Argentine history to export hogs to a country that decided to move (pork) production outside its own territory because of African swine fever.”
The environmental organization rejected the potential establishment in Argentina of huge hog farms aimed at producing pork for export to China because of the “high health risk” that comes with large-scale hog production, among other reasons.
“In 2019, in China they burned 400 million hogs alive because of African swine fever. What would happen if that occurred in Argentina? The unhealthy conditions of the mega-farms make the hogs depressed and generate ongoing diseases,” Climate Save Argentina, one of the organizations calling the protest, said in a statement.
Ecologists also warned that the farms would consume 1.5 million liters (about 400,000 gallons) of water per day and will require millions of tons of feed for the hogs in a country where the population has problems getting water and a large percentage of the public is poor.
In addition, they said that the hogs will be raised in very small cages, under conditions of “animal mistreatment and unhealthy” conditions, all the while generating greenhouse gases – namely methane – that aggravate climate change.
“Millions of animals in cages, closed up in a very violent way, are going to produce pollution in the environment with their feces,” warned Alejandro Bodart, the head of the Socialist Workers Movement, a political force that is part of the Ecosocialist Network, told EFE.
According to Bodart, the accord, which in his judgment will be “disastrous” for the environment, has already been signed, but the government, given the current election campaign situation, is delaying the announcement due to the “huge rejection” it will receive from environmentalist forces.
Government officials consulted by EFE denied that the agreement had been signed.
Two weeks ago, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said that his country will not produce hogs “in a way that pollutes the environment.”
“Everything that may be done must concern itself with protecting the environment. I’m very clear on that. If the accord is such that it produced stupidity and craziness without concerning itself about the environment, that’s not going to happen,” the head of state said in an interview with Filo News.
In remarks to EFE, Broffoni observed that Fernandez “is saying that a productive model that harms the environment is not going to be developed, but the problem is knowing what an environmental problem means for the state” and what the government means by “environmental protection.”
According to the most recent figures from the US Department of Agriculture, China is the world’s biggest buyer of pork.
A report by the IES consulting firm said that in the first half of this year, Argentine exports of pork grew by 55.6 percent over last year in terms of value ($45 million) and by 27.8 percent in quantity (22,800 tons), with China as the main engine of the external demand driving that increase.