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FARMING

French farmers hold another day of protest across the country

French farmers organised another day of protest across France on Tuesday, this time targeting prefectures.

French farmers hold another day of protest across the country
AFP

Farmers in France continued their protests on Tuesday to once again show their anger at the government, which it accuses of failing to act to protect their livelihoods.

Unions representing farmers have called on members to congregate outside prefectures in each départément across the country to demand President Emmanuel Macron respond to their concerns.

Their goal is once again to send “a strong message to the president of the Republic to demand a response to the issues that we have raised since the beginning,” said Jérôme Despey from the FNSEA union.

Farmers' unions say their protest is over three things: “Agribashing, which damages the image of our daily business, trade agreements aimed at importing food that we do not want and distortions of competition that are slowly killing French agriculture.”

Farmers are also against increasing demands for them to avoid using pesticides.

French farmers have already shown their anger with the lighting of a series of bonfires across the country aimed at highlighting their plight.

And two weeks ago they blocked roads around the country causing traffic chaos in many parts.

While farmer's insist Tuesday's protest is not aimed at blocking the country, several go-slows have been organised and prefectures themselves will likely be disrupted.

The issue of pesticide use in agriculture has become a hot topic in France, with dozens of environmental protesters staging weekly protests and calling for stricter controls on the use of chemicals.

France has one of the highest levels of pesticide use in Europe and there have been a number of health scares linked to their use.

But as the government moves to enact further restrictions, farmers say they are being 'demonised' by the green lobby.

 

Damien Greffin, president of the FNSEA Ile-de-France said previously: “The agricultural world is stigmatised on a daily basis.”

Farming unions have already voiced anger at the Ceta – the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada that substantially lowers tariffs on imports including food. French farmers say they will be unable to compete with cheaper imports.

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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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