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 Sunday, 2 April, 2000, 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK
French wolf worries
Sheep farmers take to the streets of Aix-en-Provence with their flocks
Sheep farmers take to the streets of Aix-en-Provence with their flocks
By James Coomarasamy

Sheep farmers in the French town of Aix-en-Provence have been protesting at the French Government's plan to protect the remaining wolves in the Alps.

They say the plan to keep the wolves within two national parks does not offer the sheep enough protection.

Unveiled last month, the scheme is designed to protect the 30 or so wolves that remain in the Alps.

The animals will be allotted space within the boundaries of two national parks, but if they stray from those areas farmers will be allowed to shoot them.

Eradicated

This has annoyed animal rights groups, who say it will lead to the extinction of France's wolf population, but the shepherds argue the measures do not offer enough protection to their flocks.

They claim to have lost well over 5,000 sheep to marauding wolves in the past few years and have called on Prime Minister Lionel Jospin to ensure the culprits are kept behind secure wire fences.

During the demonstration the human protesters went even further, calling for the wolves to be completely eradicated.

A spokesman for the sheep farmers said that if this did not happen, their jobs would be as much at risk as their sheep and that the French would soon be eating only New Zealand lamb.

See also:

11 Nov 99 | Science/Nature
24 Feb 00 | Europe
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