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French farmers protest plans to release more wild bears

Published on Jun 29, 2014 1:04 AM

FOIX, France (AFP) - Thousands of ranchers and farmers concerned about their livestock demonstrated in southwestern France on Saturday against plans to introduce a group of wild bears as well measures to protect wolves and vultures.

Some demonstrators dumped sheep carcasses and manure in front of the local town hall to protest against the "re-wilding" of the mountains near Foix on the edge of the French Pyrenees, which they say is affecting their livelihoods.

Police said 2,500 protesters took to the streets although organisers said the figure was higher, at 4,000, with many protesters bringing their livestock and tractors with them for a go-slow around the town.

Ranchers and farmers are angry at what they call the "uncontrolled expansion" in the number of wolves across the country and a plan to introduce a dozen wild bears in the region. They are also concerned about the prevalence of the griffon vulture, which they have accused of attacking livestock.

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