When most of us think of a typical protest, images of cowboy hats and tractors don’t generally come to mind. But, farmers have definitely played a role in shaping public policy (or at least garnering some attention) through protests.
1. Cows Against TPP
Cows, milk, farmers and tractors hit the streets of Ottawa this week — only days after Quebec farmers hit Montreal — to protest trade negotiations surrounding dairy in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The farmers have certainly received mainstream attention already:
— Andrew Foote (@amkfoote) September 29, 2015
— barrie mckenna (@barriemckenna) September 29, 2015
— Kristy Cameron (@CFRAKristy) September 29, 2015
About 3 dozen big tractors moving slowly up Wellington past parliament now pic.twitter.com/Kc9F4i1vD0
— Stu Mills (@StuMillsCBC) September 29, 2015
- Poll: Should Canada Join the TPP if the Cost is Supply Management?
- Canola School: Understanding What the TPP Could Mean for Canola Growers
- The Trouble with the TPP TPP Participation is Critical for Maintaining Canadian Pork Exports
2. The Urban Lagoon
French farmers hit the streets in July and September, to protest falling food prices. The most recent protest hit Paris, with over 1000 tractors and reports of traffic backed up 60km in areas. July protests saw farmers blockading roads from Germany and Spain, preventing hundreds of food trucks from entering the country. They ransacked food trucks, dumped manure in the streets, burned tires on major roads and sprayed straw on cars. The French government gave in to provide emergency tax relief and loan guarantees, but unrest in the country continues.
3. A Sheepish City of Lovers
France hits the list again. This time, with the 2014 protest of wolf predation on sheep flocks. Some media outlets reported up to 300 sheep grazing beneath the Eiffel Tower, while their owners protested the protection of wolves, saying compensating farmers for losses is a waste of money.
— Kevin Richert (@KevinRichert) December 3, 2014
— Farmers Weekly (@FarmersWeekly) November 28, 2014
4. Brussels Sprouts with Ag Turmoil
An extension of the frustration expressed over falling food prices in France, the September protests in Brussels made mainstream news largely thanks to the use of tear gas and water cannons by police in the city. The thousands of farmers were far from innocent, throwing eggs, firecrackers, stones and straw at anti-riot police The European Union released emergency funds as a result of the protests.
— Lana Violet88 (@LanaViolet88) September 7, 2015
5. Jail Time
We’d be remiss if we didn’t also include the protest by thirteen Canadian farmers who challenged laws by crossing the U.S. border with grain in the 1990s — in the time of the Canadian Wheat Board. The handcuffs came out in Lethbridge in 2002, and ten years on, all were pardoned by Prime Minister Harper.