French sheep farmers, angry about the lifting of restrictions on the importation of British mutton, have taken to the streets of Paris to vent their anger.
French sheep farmers, angry about the lifting of restrictions on the importation of British mutton, have taken to the streets of Paris to vent their anger. They staged a rally to try and gain public support for their cause, with a symbolic occupation of the Square de la Tour de Saint Jacques.
SYNOPSIS: The sheep farmers are trying to make the French public aware of their plight. They say that the free-trade agreement, which allows British mutton into France, is a serious menace to their stocks. As a graphic illustration, they built a sheep pen in the centre of Paris.
The protesters say that the British are dumping their product on the French market, and then buying lower priced New Zealand lamb, and it's the French consumer that will lose in the long run.
The producers are afraid that the cheap British product will force hundreds of sheep farmers to abandon their farms, and thereby seriously affect the production of lamb and mutton for years to come. The mutton war, as it's being called in France, is reminiscent of other agricultural wars the France have had in the past. A ??? years ago there was the wine war with Italy, and also a border skirmish with the Dutch and Belgians over pork.
The protest will move to Brussels on Monday (15 October) where the whole issue is to be debated in the European Counsel of Ministers. One European member, M. Pierre Pranchere, has already asked the Council for an assurance that small and medium sized sheep farms will be able to rely on guaranteed prices and an income consistent with national production cost.