Protesting dairy farmers hose down EuroParl and cops with milk

Dairy farmers protesting in Brussels sprayed thousands of litres of milk on the European Parliament and its police cadre. Shown here, a small thumbnail of a remarkable photo by John Thys for AFP/Getty Images. Click through for the full image, on the Telegraph's site.

Dairy farmers spray milk at the European Parliament in Brussels


    1. The Belgians’re protesting the fact that they’d be better off if the poor could come and take this currently under-valued, under-priced and essentially useless milk off of their hands. The poor just have to pay the freight.

      Don’t worry about milk being split. Its not worth crying over; literally.

      Its pointless to produce anymore. (Specially for me. I’m lactose-intolerant. ;-)

      1.  Same here in Spain!
        Farmers had protested that the production cost is way higher than are paid by the distributors or the big milk companies.
        Yet, sadly, they can`t give their milk for free because it is illegal to sell unpasteurized milk in Spain.
        Meanwhile, families all around Spain struggle to put some milk in their tables for their kids…

        1. They must really hate poor people if they want to raise milk prices.
          Also, selling products below cost doesn’t seem like a viable business model. Neither does petitioning the government for price controls. Both of those require a certain kind of magical thinking.

          1. The problem does not reside on the producers, but on the distributors.
            Yesterday a farmer told the news that the cost to produce 1L of milk was 0.30€ and they where paid 0.20€. Meanwhile, in the supermarkets milk is sold at 1.05€ each litre.

          2.  Exactly, it’s a common problem in overly Capitalist systems, where Oligopolies form from a limited number of super-power supermarket chains, and they collude to drive down the price of inputs while keeping the price out outputs relatively high. The largest strawberry farmer in Queensland (Australia) went under recently because they couldn’t get a price for strawberries that covered the harvesting cost. Now, there’s a greater question about why so many farms produced strawberries, but sometimes the weather is just too good for a certain crop and there’s a glut.

            But we’re certainly have the same problem with milk here in Australia, the farmers are getting less than peanuts and the supermarkets are making record profits.

          3. Milk prices aren’t high. They’re quite low. And most of that money is not going to the farmers.

            My brother-in-law has a hundred cows, and he’d be financially better off if he sold them all and his land, and lived off the interest. Dairy farming is economically not viable. Not at these prices.

            What farmers should be doing is simply charge reasonable prices and refuse to do business with anyone who doesn’t want to pay those prices. But somehow they seem to be at the mercy of big corporations who control the access to the supermarket shelves.

  1. The cops get sprayed with a high powered hose instead of the protestors, for a change. Bet you weren’t expecting that…

  2. Just hope they kept it out of the streams. Milk is considered a hazardous spill if it gets into streams that contain fish.

  3. Well, lets not cry over all that spilt milk  

    (Sorry that was too cheesy)

    ummmm something about homogenization and homophobia

  4. As someone who has two rounds of home made gouda, a round of stilton-esque, and two cheddars aging in my apartment at this moment–this is news I can use :]  Cheap milk?  All the better to fuel my hobby.  Blessed are the cheesemakers indeed.

    1. Apparently, it’s only cheap at the wholesale level. Retail is still full price.

      So you’d better prepare to make a few thousand more wheels of cheese per year.

  5. At least it wasn’t summer time….a few hours in the hot sun drenched in milk you’d be smelling really nice.

    1. Seriously. If you spill milk in the car and don’t get it cleaned up immediately, you might as well just get rid of the car.

  6. They should’ve waited til the hottest week of the summer to do this. The following week would smell delicious. 

  7. So the milk spraying? Kind of ingenious, from a political message standpoint.

    But the tire fires, burning vehicles, and slingshotted molotovs that the Telegraph calls “flares”? Kinda ruins it.

    (Of course, it’s hardly a European protest without those, I guess?)

  8. Fun fact! Milk is considered one of the most dangerous products to haul by tractor trailer. The tanker cannot have baffles or internal braces due to the risk of bacteria, so milk tankers are at high risk of roll over. 

    1. That just makes the driving behavior of the milk tankers I’ve seen on I-5 all the more terrifying. 

  9. Anyone else notice the vastly different approach to protests by the cops there? The NYPD will KILL you for waving a bottle of water at them, but those cops just calmly hold their perimeter, despite being blasted with milk, and let the protesters get it out of their system.

    1. That’s just because the NYPD cops come in from the ‘burbs and are scared out of their minds the whole day.

      That attitude eventually evolves into: “Everybody here is The Enemy” and “They’re all out to kill me.”

      Belgian cops, I am reliably informed by a Belgian friend, use their 6 weeks of vacation to recover from that. NYPD cops are lucky to get two weeks a year.

    2. It’s not people challenging the system as a whole or the authority and privilege of people at the top (the banking class). It’s a protest about a single policy that they don’t like so it’s not really a threat and they’re not trying to send them a lesson about what happens when you try to question their privilege like they were doing in NYC, SF and all over the world.

  10. If only there were a few more dairy farmers at the OCCUPY protest, they’d still be in Zucotti Park.

  11. People who believe this has anything to do with a system operating under the principles of capitalism, were not paying attention in economics class.

    1. Exactly.  There are no doubt a tangle of regulations that prevent these producers from competing against monopolistic middlemen, no doubt well camouflaged as safety measures.  

      1.  or just a lack of competition.
        if you have a few ubiquitous supermarkets and they only buy for a certain amount (or only by from certain middlemen who only buy for a certain amount) the farmer at the end has little they can do about it, there isn’t enough competition for the farmer to sell to instead so what do they do?

  12. best way to protest not being able to make enough money on your milk: waste thousands of litres of it.

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