Demands from protesters have ranged from the regulation of prices for agricultural products to the protection of breeders of cattle for bullfights.

The protest comes amid governmental proposals against depopulation and agricultural policies ahead of a snap election in Castilla y Leon.
The protest comes amid governmental proposals against depopulation and agricultural policies ahead of a snap election in Castilla y Leon. (Paul White / AP)

Farmers, cattle-breeders and hunting enthusiasts have descended on Spain's capital to protest against environmental and economic policies by the country's government that they say is abandoning rural regions.

Sunday's protest was organised by Alma Rural 2021, a platform representing over 500 rural organisations from all corners of Spain.

Members of center-to-far-right opposition parties attended the protest as well.

Demands from protesters ranged from the regulation of prices for agricultural products to the protection of breeders of cattle for bullfights, and more subsidies for rural industries, among many others.

The demonstration comes as Spanish politicians are campaigning ahead of a snap election in Castilla y Leon, a vast region northeast of Madrid where proposals against depopulation and agricultural policies are taking centre stage.

Demands from protesters ranged from the regulation of prices for agricultural products to the protection of breeders of cattle for bullfights, and more subsidies for rural industries, among many others.
Demands from protesters ranged from the regulation of prices for agricultural products to the protection of breeders of cattle for bullfights, and more subsidies for rural industries, among many others. (Reuters)

Political storm

In a statement, Spain's Ecological Transition Ministry said that the country's budget for 2022 includes $4.7 billion to fight the depopulation of rural areas.

A spat over industrial livestock farming has dominated headlines for the past month since Consumer Minister Alberto Garzon criticised big cattle exploitations for damaging the environment and producing poor quality food for export.

Garzon is a member of the far-left junior partner of the Socialist-led administration.

His remarks caused a political storm, created divisions within the coalition and led to calls by the right-wing opposition parties for Garzon to resign.

READ MORE: Spain approves record $509B budget for 2022

Farmers walk with cattle, as they take part in a protest to raise awareness about the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and demanding
Farmers walk with cattle, as they take part in a protest to raise awareness about the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and demanding "respect and progress" for the rural sector. (Reuters)
Source: AP