Sheep march through Paris in farmers’ protest

Paris was turned into a giant animal farm on Sunday as thousands of sheep, cows and pigs marched through the capital accompanied by protesting French farmers who say their livelihoods are now under threat.

Sheep march through Paris in farmers' protest
Thousands of sheep and cattle march through Paris on Sunday. Photo Miguel Medina/AFP

More than 10,000 French farmers turned Paris into one big animal farm on Sunday as they protested against the rising costs involved in rearing farm animals in France.

“It’s a message of distress and dismay that we express today,” Peter Knight, president of the bovine federation affiliated to the FNSEA farmer’s union told Europe 1.

“This is a national issue that will go down in history. We are at the point of economic and social breaking point,” he added.

Farmers who raise animals claim they earn four times less than agriculturalists who grow crops. According to figures published by Europe1 a sheep of cattle farmer will earn around €1, 300  a month compared to a cereal planter, who earned on average €6,000 last year.

French cattle breeders also complain that their lives are being made more difficult by ever stricter regulations.

“We do not earn enough in terms of the time we spend working,” cattle rancher Michel Joly said. “This is a 24 hour, seven days a week job, with a lot of constraints. We are sick of it."

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Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro