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FARMING

Un oeuf is enough! Mad farmers smash eggs

A group of protesting French farmers have finally cracked, it seems. After becoming fed-up at low prices the farmers have taken matters into their own hands by smashing thousands of eggs of French roads, and say more will bite the dust.

Un oeuf is enough! Mad farmers smash eggs
Smashing: Furious French farmers break 100,000 eggs a night in protest. Photo: Fred Taneau/AFP

A group of rogue French farmers has said 'Un oeuf is enough' and this week went on a furious egg-breaking rampage, destroying tens of thousands on roads and pledging to smash many more in protest against low prices. Farmers have also promised to take more radical action.

"More than 100,000 eggs were destroyed in the Cotes d'Armor (a department in the northwestern region of Brittany)," a spokesman for the unnamed collective of angry poultry farmers, told AFP.

Poultry farmers in France have for several months complained of rock-bottom egg prices due to overproduction — a problem that also affects other countries in the European Union.

They say current prices do not make up for a rise in production costs or investments they had to make as part of an EU directive that came into force in January 2012 to protect the well-being of laying hens.

The spokesman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said masked farmers had broken the 100,000 eggs overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday near a Lidl supermarket and on a roundabout — an act that was also reported in local media.

"We will continue to destroy 100,000 eggs a day until Sunday," the spokesman said, after which he said the protest movement would become more radical "with inevitable collateral damage" if the group's demands are not met.

He said destroying 100,000 eggs a day equates to "five percent of the production" of poultry farmers involved in the collective.

The group called for France's entire egg production to be reduced by 5 percent to help raise prices, and  asked the government to set up a specific area for eggs to be destroyed.

According to Yves-Marie Beaudet, head of the egg section of a union that represents poultry farmers in Brittany, producers currently get paid 75 cents ($1) for a kilogram of eggs — whereas the cost price is 95 cents.

The UGPVB union says the European Union has "15 to 20 million" excess laying hens out of a total of around 350 million.

THis is not the first time in recent months French farmers have taken drastic action to try and protect their livelihoods.

In June The Local reported how Paris was turned into a big farmyard as sheep marched down the Champs Elysees in a farmers' protest over the costs of rearing animals.

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FARMING

French hunter kills bear that bit him

A 70-year-old hunter killed a bear in southwest France Saturday after it attacked and seriously wounded him, local officials said.

A brown bear is pictured in the semi-wildlife animal park of Les Angles, southwestern France.
Brown bears had nearly disappeared in France until the country began a reintroduction programme, importing them from Slovenia. AFP PHOTO / RAYMOND ROIG

The female bear, who was travelling with her cubs, bit him as he was hunting in the Seix region of Ariege, a source close to the case said.

Rescued by the local gendarmerie, he was transported to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Toulouse with a wound to his leg at the level of his femoral artery, officials at the prefecture in Ariege said.

One source close to the case said he was in a serious condition.

The hunter told local officials he had been out with a group of other hunters on the trail of a boar, when the female bear, who was travelling with her cubs, attacked him.

After being wounded, the hunter shot the bear twice, killing it.

The local gendarme unit was called out to rescue him at around 3:30 pm (1430 GMT). They discovered the body of the bear a few metres from where they had found the hunter.

An investigation has been opened into the incident, the prefecture in Ariege said.

One local official told AFP on Saturday: “This is really what we feared.”

“Today, you can really see that cohabitation is complicated,” said Christine Tequi, president of the Ariege department council.

The brown bear had nearly disappeared in this part of the world when France began a programme of reintroducing them, importing them from Slovenia.

Today, there are around sixty of them in the Pyrenees range, leading to increasing tensions with local farmers, because of the threat they pose to their livestock.

In 2020, three bears were illegally killed in the Pyrenees: two of them in Spain and one in France. The French government has committed to replacing any bear killed by a man.

READ ALSO: The decades-old battle between French farmers and conservationists over bears
READ ALSO: What are the most dangerous animals in France?

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