Farmers warn of more egg-smashing rampages

Farmers warn of more egg-smashing rampages
Farmers are threatening a repeat of an egg smashing rampage that saw 200,000 broken in a matter of days. Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP
Angry French poultry farmers laid down an ultimatum to the government on Tuesday. If the price of eggs does not rise in two weeks, they will resume a rampage that saw them smash 200,000 eggs in a matter of days earlier this month.

French poultry farmers who last week smashed 200,000 eggs in protests over low prices on Tuesday threatened repeat action following talks with the country's agriculture minister.

Last week's protests were staged by a collective of militant farmers operating outside the structure of the main unions in the sector.

A spokesman for the group, who would only be identified by his first name Sebastien, said: “Prices have to go up. We will allow 15 days for that to happen, otherwise action will resume, we don't know yet what form that will take.”

Yves-Marie Beaudet, the head of the eggs section of the UGPVB, a union which accounts for 40 percent of French egg production but took no part in last week's smashing, said his members would support efforts to boost prices by cutting back production.

Beaudet welcomed a commitment by Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll to seek new export markets for French eggs as part of attempts to rebalance supply and demand and push domestic prices up from levels that producers say are unsustainable.

Farmers have been hit by rising feed prices and a new European Union directive that has forced them to invest in bigger pens for their laying hens. According to the UGPVB, production costs in France are now running at 95 cents per kilogram of eggs, 20 cents more than current wholesale prices.

Last week farmers in Britanny smashed 100,000 eggs on consecutive days in protests designed to highlight their plight.

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