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European farmers spray milk in Brussels in protest over sector crisis

Staff Writer |
Dairy farmers staged a protest which entailed spraying powdered milk outside the European Council buildings to call on European Union institutions to introduce additional measures to regulate milk production.

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About 100 farmers from countries such as Belgium, France and Germany came together to demonstrate as EU agriculture ministers gathered for a meeting to discuss market situations, particularly with regards to dairy products, after a series of measures were adopted last year aimed at helping producers.

The goal of the action, according to European Coordination Via Campesina committee coordinator Jose Miguel Pacheco, was to highlight the fact that “the crisis has not ended” and was “far from being over.”

An epa journalist on the site said the protesting farmers threw bags of powdered milk from a tallescope, as well as dumping the product out of several tanks.

One participant told epa that there was a poor turnout among farmers because they were getting tired of protesting and needed to tend to their farms.

Epa photographers saw milk powder being set on fire, a tractor pulling a cart spraying milk all over the street, and a statue of a dairy cow decorated in the colors of the Belgian national flag.

The farmers also sought “to denounce the Commission’s attempt to put milk powder on the market,” Pacheco said, and to call for a public instrument for the regulation of production.

He said the deregulation of the dairy sector was “tailored to suit the interests of large-scale distribution,” adding that it did not help producers nor consumers.

A public regulation instrument would guarantee production prices, he said, as well as quality and the question of production models.

The protest was organized by the European Coordination Via Campesina and the European Milk Board.


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