French farmers in fresh egg-smashing rampage
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French farmers threatened Friday to escalate their protest over low egg prices by smashing thousands of eggs on the streets and squares of Brittany, France's main poultry producing region.
A group of French farmers threatened Friday to escalate their protest against falling egg prices by smashing thousands of eggs on the streets and squares of France’s main poultry producing region of Brittany.
The head of Brittany’s egg producers’ lobby Yves-Marie Beaudet said he “understood the movement” that began earlier this week when some 15 masked farmers dumped pallets holding tens of thousands of eggs in front of a grocery store in Ploumagoar.
The nebulous farmers’ collective, which communicates through an unnamed spokesman, has vowed to break 100,000 eggs every day, saying current prices do not make up for rising production costs or new investments required by EU law.
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 hens.
"We are at our wits' end," said the spokesman. "We're ready to give these eggs to developing countries, but they cannot stay on French territory."
Destroying 100,000 eggs a day equates to five percent of the production of poultry farmers involved in the collective.
The group has called for France's entire egg production to be reduced by five percent to help raise prices, and asked the government to set up a specific area for eggs to be destroyed.
It has pledged to keep smashing the eggs every day until Sunday, after which it says the protest movement would become more radical "with inevitable collateral damage" if the group's demands are not met.
According to Yves-Marie Beaudet, producers currently get paid 75 cents for a kilo of eggs – against a cost price of 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.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)