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Church union demands protection for farmers

Boars are destroying livelihoods, attacking children it says

Church union demands protection for farmers
Farmers rally in Kozhikode seeking protection from wild boars
George Kommattathil, Kozhikode

January 7, 2011

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Desperate farmers from a Church-managed union besieged a district administrative headquarters in Kerala today  during a rally to demand protection from wild boars. “You may laugh at our demands, but we are serious. We work hard and wild boars destroy our crops. We can’t survive much longer,” George Kocheril, a Catholic farmer from Thamarassery diocese told after the rally. “It’s ironic that farmers get less protection than animals in our country,” he added. Some 2,000 farmers joined the rally staged by the Indian Farmers Movement in Kozhikode, a major town in the southern Indian state. Bishop Remigious Inchananiyil of Thamarassery kicked- off the rally which took the farmers to the Kozhikode collector’s office. Wild boars have become a grave threat since the federal government included them in on a list of protected animals in 2004, said the union’s national general secretary Father Antony Kozhuvanal. “Now they have multiplied and settled on farms and farmers cannot chase them away. If they do, they will be prosecuted” he explained. They are even attacking children going to school, he added. Father Kozhuvanal said the government should amend the law and remove wild boars from the endangered list. “Man is greater than animals. The government should protect farmers and their crops,” he asserted. Father Jose Karottuzhunnalil, a parish priest in the diocese, said many families have quit farming for other jobs. “Last year we had 130 farming families in the parish now there are only 70. The threat from the animals has forced them to abandon their farms,” the priest said. Augustine Pallath, another farmer, said one farmer recently attempted suicide after wild boars destroyed his crops. “If this continues others may try killing themselves too,” he warned. Related report Priest’s ‘green revolution’ aids farmers IB12743.1635
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