Thousands of dairy farmers across the Czech Republic poured milk down drains and onto fields on Thursday to protest the low prices they are being paid. The protest organised by the Agricultural Chamber aimed at disposing of around half a million litres of milk, or around 7.0 percent of daily production. Farmers say they are being paid just over five crowns a litre for milk, around half of the price they need to break even. Potato growers also joined some demonstrations. They say land devoted to potato cultivation has fallen by 20 percent over the last decade because of insufficient support.
Czech breweries have said they are preparing a complaint to the country’s constitutional court over a planned increase of duty on beer. Duty on half a litre of beer should rise by half a crown from January as part of the government’s package to curb the 2010 budget. The deputy head of the Czech Beer and Malt Association, Jiří Fusek, said the rise threatened the existence of some companies which is some cases would have to bear the brunt of the increase because of fixed long-term contracts with suppliers. He said brewers would turn to the European Union and Brussels if they failed in their legal fight at home.
Czech dairy farmers are planning to pour half a million litres of milk onto the ground at eight locations around the country on Thursday, in protest at what they say is the low price they are currently receiving. Farmer’s group representative Kamil Vystavěl told the CTK news agency that the situation in the milk business was serious and had not been addressed for over a year; he said some producers could go out of business due to the low prices.
The Agrarian Chamber has said that dairy farmers will pour thousands of litres of milk into selected fields on Thursday in protest of low purchase prices. A list of areas where the protests will take place will be released Tuesday, the head of the chamber Jan Veleba said. A representative for producers in southern Moravia confirmed that around one third of one’s day’s production in one area would be destroyed, with roughly 25,000 litres being poured into the ground.
A newly-released study on substance abuse among young people in Europe makes alarming reading for Czech officials. The results of the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD) carried out in 35 European countries in 2007 have just been released, and they show Czech teenagers topping many of the tables in terms of abuse of controlled substances such as alcohol, nicotine and drugs.
A pig-slaughter feast -for some an inconceivable cruelty that has no place in the 21st century, for others a way of life and an old tradition. Only last week it seemed that home pig slaughters could be on their way out, but after much debate and pressure from individual EU members officials in Brussels have given them the green light.
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