Hundreds of sheep farmers demonstrated in the Alpine village of Gap this week for the right to shoot wolves, a protected species. Wolves became extinct in France in the 1920s, but several wolf packs crossed the Alps from Italy about a decade ago and began feasting on the sheep that graze on the slopes. The first year, the wolves killed less than 200 sheep, but by 2002 the annual slaughter had reached 2,800. The French government has proposed a modest cull of about six of the 55 wolves in the mountains, a figure the farmers’ association said was insulting. “This plan wants to reduce sheep farming to a sideshow in a theme park for wolves,” said the Confédération Paysanne.
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