With more than 40 tractors, 50 horses, 15 oxen-pulled carriages as well as working dogs and pets heading the march, protesters complained of being unprotected from cheap food imports, and new legislation banning the sale of pets or aimed at protecting wolves, among other problems.
“Our villages are dying without any organization lending us a hand,” said Antonio Donoso, a farmer from Madrid.
Last year, the government declared the Iberian wolf a protected species and imposed a nationwide hunting ban, angering farmers who claim the law would lead to more attacks on livestock.
The Alma Rural (Rural Soul) umbrella group gathered in Madrid more than 300 organizations including farmers and breeders of fighting bulls and pets in a protest to increase visibility for rural problems.
The rally follows a recent spat between Consumer Affairs Minister Alberto Garzon and meat producers, after he criticized the environmental impact of mega-farms, calling the meat they produce low-quality and urging Spaniards to rethink their meat-eating habits.