French farmers, scrambling to drive up prices, are working hard to destroy 5% of their egg yield.
The Wall Street Journal reports that last night was the third night a group of masked farmers in Brittany joined forces to smash 100,000 eggs on the ground outside a tax office in Carhaix.
This video from French TV shows the aftermath:
It seems a little strange to smash up your own produce like this, and the farmers are aware of that. “We’ve had to destroy the fruit of our labour,” one farmer explained sadly to the Journal.
However, there is a logic at work here.
The Financial Times reports that the farmers are angry at a 2012 European directive that forced them to invest millions of euros in larger cages for their hens. A local farmer’s union, UGPVB, says this has come at a time when the EU’s laying-hen population of 350 million is between 15 million and 20 million too big.
The result is that farms have to sell eggs at below cost price — one farmer told France24 that producers are currently getting paid at 75 cents for a kilo of eggs against a cost price of 95 cents. By smashing 5% of their egg yield every day the farmers hope they can raise egg prices.
Will this work? It’s certainly debatable, but the farmers may be desperate. The group are pledging to continue smashing eggs until Sunday, with more radical moves to come then if the government doesn’t in.
Local residents say the smashed eggs are already smelling terrible.
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