Martina Marcet (La Nou de Berguedá, 36 years old), is an organic farmer and is one of the visible faces of the rural feminist movement. She belongs to Ramaderes de Catalunya, a group of some 60 Catalan feminist ranchers. She is a sociologist, she studied a master’s degree in contemporary philosophy and, after graduating, she decided to leave the city and return to the town where she was born. She continues to train: she combines the care of her 4-year-old daughter (she is separated from her), her 3,000 chickens and about 20 cows with taking a comparative literature course. She defends extensive ranching “that cares for the environment.” And she is satisfied with her work because “it makes sense,” she says. “I am engaged in an essential activity. I see the effects of climate change. My work helps me to be aware of our vulnerabilities.” Russia’s offensive against Ukraine is affecting the price of the grain it needs and she fears the consequences for her entire sector. She already suffers.
P. The offensive against Ukraine, what effects is it having on the pitch?
R. We are in a limit situation due to the fossil fuel crisis. Russia’s offensive on Ukraine is driving up the price of grain. In one year it has increased by 25% and a rise of up to 60% is expected. I am also worried about the drought, which if it continues will make everything impossible. We are on the verge of collapse. I don’t know how many producers we will be able to follow.
P. How many animals does he have? Has the price of the meat you sell risen?
R. A small herd of brown cows from the Pyrenees, 13 females and a breeding bull, and about eight calves that I sell every year. And about 3,000 organic chickens, of which I sell about 650 a month. I have had to raise the price of calves by 15% in a year, and chicken soon by 30%.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
P. How is the livestock that you defend?
R. One in which a relationship of trust is established between humans and animals. If not, we couldn’t work with them, they would fear us. I now have three male calves, the smallest weighing 600 kilos. I can move it with relative ease, they know me, they lick me, I can pass between my cows and I know that nothing is going to happen to me.
P. Do your animals have names?
R. The cows yes. Hilda, Llista (list), Rinxuls (curls), Serrells (Fringes).
P. You sign the foreword to Live with the animals. Against industrial farming and “animal liberation” (Ediciones El Salmón, 2021), a book by Jocelyne Porcher, a French researcher who criticizes macro-farms and animal rights activists. She advocates eliminating capitalism.
R. Capitalism is a highly adaptive system, which generates enormous inequalities, which has taken us to the physical limits of the planet. We cannot produce more energy to sustain ourselves and this is leading us to imperialist wars like the one we are experiencing. We have no choice but to think of alternatives.
P. I guess you’ll see a thousand failures in our power system.
R. Capitalism is the antithesis of food sovereignty and the right to food. In Catalonia we have specialized in raising pigs that are fed with monocultures from the other part of the world that we then sell to China. This does not guarantee the right to adequate food.
P. What is your position against animalism?
R. Animalists and anti-speciesists (people who believe that we have to stop subjugating other species) raise a discourse of abuse that is far removed from a reality in which we humans have to feed ourselves. We cannot have a balanced diet without livestock, which also provides the fertilizers that the land needs. Another thing is that we have to find ways to minimize animal suffering.
P. How does Sánchez’s phrase ‘where they put a ribeye to the point…’ sound to you weeks later?
R. With that speech, what he does is reinforce positions of the extreme right in rural areas. The solution goes through a transition accompanied by farmers towards more sustainable productions.
P. She is part of a feminist rancher group. What does it consist of?
R. In Ramaderes de Cataluña we are about 60 women, all of us are dedicated to extensive livestock. It is a support group in a highly masculinized sector, in it we feel comfortable to be able to express our doubts without feeling judged.
P. How would you say that feminism advances in the emptied Spain?
R. It depends on the areas. There is inequality in the same way that there is inequality in other areas, but women in the rural world are charged with all the cures and there are fewer services, therefore we have many more difficulties.
P. What do you understand by feminist livestock?
R. It is a farm that puts the issue of cures at the center, that does not want to fill the animals with antibiotics, that does not intervene too much in the reproductive issue, that tries to make them graze a lot, that they have a quality life…
P. He writes, “the death of our animals challenges us”. How?
R. When you take animals that you have raised to the slaughterhouse, you are not indifferent, you suffer. We care that they are treated well. We know that they are going to be slaughtered, and we have internalized that our animals are going to feed people. Life and death are linked in any agrarian activity. If we could have mobile slaughterhouses, everything would be much more respectful.
P. If his gaze got going, would there be meat for everyone?
R. There would be less meat. And we would eat much less chicken and pork and more kid and lamb, which are more grass-fed.
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