Mega corporations funded tractor protest and not grass roots organizers
The farmers' protest in The Hague on Tuesday was funded by large agricultural companies. Bart Kemp from Ede may have come up with the idea for the protest on the Malieveld in The Hague, but large corporations from Apeldoorn, Nijkerk, Meppel, and Lochem, among others, backed it with substantial amounts of money, De Gelderlander reports after speaking to a number of involved businesses.
Slaughterhouse giant Vion, with a turnover of 4.6 billion euros, contributed thousands of euros to the protest day. De Heus gave an amount "with at least five numbers", Joost Belt of the animal feed giant said to the newspaper. "It is substantial".
Livestock feed company ForFarmers, turnover 2.5 billion euros, paid the costs of a communications agency meant to steer the day in the right direction. "We want to stand next to our customers", Carolien Vogelzang of ForFarmers said. The communications agency had to ensure that the farmers' views were properly expressed. "It's their march. It's their protest. But is also in the interest of the farmers that everything goes smoothly."
The hundreds of farmers' tractor trek to The Hague caused massive traffic chaos during both morning- and evening rush hour on Tuesday. The morning rush hour was even the busiest one ever in Dutch history, with over 1,100 kilometers of traffic jams.
The farmers gathered in The Hague to protest against politicians and the media blaming them for animal abuse and greenhouse gas emissions. "In recent years, politicians, media and activists have sketched a negative image of farmers. We are not animal traffickers and environmental polluters; we are passionate about or business. The unreliability of the government and authorities is a reason for us to make a counter noise. The problems of the Netherlands do not belong on our plates", interest group Agractie said on its website.