French cattle farmers have been demonstrating at a Carrefour supermarket in Paris to demand higher beef prices from Europe's biggest retailer. As Hayley Platt reports, beef producers in France have been struggling for years in the face of declining consumption.
It's been a tough few years for French cattle farmers and this time they're blaming Carrefour for some of their problems. Farmers groups say years of falling consumption has been made worse by the retailer's refusal to pay higher prices for quality meat. (SOUNDBITE) (French) SECRETARY GENERAL OF FNB, PIERRE VAUGARNY, SAYING: "Today we are showing that paying farmers their production costs is possible, without any impact on consumers. Last year a billion and a half euros was stolen from farmers." The farmers say it costs around 4.5 euros to produce a kilo of quality beef. Carrefour pays a euro less. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FARMER PROTESTER, NAME UNKNOWN, SAYING: "This meat here was bought from the producers for a little over 3 euros 50. It isn't the right price. We have a real disconnect." Carrefour's rival Systeme U has committed to paying higher prices for some meat. But there's little chance of broad improvement without Europe's biggest retailer agreeing too. Carrefour says it's aware of the crisis and is in contact with beef sector representatives. But the recent downturn in the dairy market isn't helping - more DAIRY cows are being sent for slaughter.