‘They destroy everything’: Italian farmers protest rising number of wild boars

Bowls of wild boar stew and boar sandwiches were handed out at the demonstration in Rome.

'They destroy everything': Italian farmers protest rising number of wild boars
A farmer holds a placard reading "the wild boar lives, the field dies" in Rome on Thursday. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Hundreds of farmers descended on the Italian capital on Thursday to protest against a surging number of marauding wild boars they say are ruining their crops and land.

Farmers from various regions of Italy filled a square outside the parliament building.

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Some held photographs of trampled fields or mangled cars after encounters on roads with the beasts.

Farmers say the boars, which are prolific breeders, need to be better controlled and rules prohibiting hunting loosened.

Coldiretti, Italy's main agricultural lobby, says there are two million wild boars in Italy which have, along with other wild animals, caused the deaths of 13 people in the first nine months of the year.

In January, one person died and about a dozen were injured in a pile-up near the northern city of Lodi after a group of wild boars wandered onto the country's main north-south motorway.

The animals have also ventured into the northern outskirts of Rome, lured by the heaps of uncollected rubbish in the city's overflowing bins.

The number of wild boars in Italy has almost doubled in the last ten years, and “the presence of wild boars in population centres and on roads is now a real risk for the safety of citizens,” according to Coldiretti.

The demonstration in Rome featured a tent handing out bowls of wild boar stew, boar sandwiches, and wild boar sausage.

A farmer cuts boar salami during the demonstration. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Politicians including Agriculture Minister Teresa Bellanova and rightwing opposition leader Matteo Salvini pledged support to a problem farmers complained has worsened in recent years.

“The countryside should govern the countryside, and not the city,” former deputy prime minister Salvini told the crowd. “I like baby wild boars too, but the problem is in the numbers. Nature needs balance.”

Several other right-wwing politicians tweeted in support of the demonstration, including Forza Italia senator Maurizio Gasparri, who called for “concrete responses” and not “fantastical proposals”.

One protester, Gaetano Fraioli, said the government had done nothing to tackle the problem.

The boars often invade his vineyard in Colfelice, about 80 miles (120 kilometres) south of Rome, and his daughter's car once collided with one of the animals, he said.

“I had to put in an electric fence,” Fraioli said. “They destroy everything.”

Hundreds of thousands of wild boar live in the forests of north and central Italy. File photo: Depositphotos.


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