Polish farmers tie up roads to protest animal protection law

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Farmers across Poland slowed down traffic on main roads with their tractors Wednesday and left wheelbarrows of manure at lawmakers’ offices to protest a new law that bans fur farms and religious slaughter for export, saying it will put them out of business.

Driving tractors slowly with anti-government banners, the farmers also protested the recent ouster of the agriculture minister, who had criticized the government-proposed law.

It was the first major farmers’ protest against the right-wing coalition government led by the conservative Law and Justice party since it took power in 2015. Farmers have been the party’s main voter base, identifying with its generous family bonuses and traditional values.

The controversial new animal protection law is being eyed by the Senate. If approved, it would put an end to Poland’s fur farms, the use of animals in circuses and would ban religious slaughter for export.

The law has led to a major crisis in the ruling right-wing coalition, when two small parties refused to back it in the lower house of parliament, saying it was bad for farmers.

Farmers have threatened more protests.

President Andrzej Duda, who is aligned with the Law and Justice party, has hinted that he might reject the law.

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