Simply live off your job

On June 20, 2017, in the countryside of Saône-et-Loire where he is a breeder, Jérôme Laronze, 36, was shot dead by the gendarmes. The tragic and revolting end of a run started nine days earlier after yet another check by the health authorities to which the trade unionist of the Peasant Confederation had refused, this time, to submit. Alerting about the pressure exerted on the agricultural world by the administration had become a major axis of its fight, more global, in favor of a sustainable agriculture which allows small farmers to live with dignity.

Picking up the thread of the affair, the director of peasant sacrifice, Gabrielle Culand, dissects the springs of a deep professional malaise. Driven by financial difficulties due in particular to the conditions of the common agricultural policy (CAP) and the margins of large retailers, farmers still have to comply with traceability standards designed following health scandals, such as that of the “cow crazy”, the responsibility for which lies with the agri-food industry, and not with their own practices. To bring out all the aberration of this system which grinds down workers attached to their profession and their animals, Gabrielle Culand follows a breeder confronted with the administrative seizure of his herd, a decision which intervenes when excess mortality is observed in the herd.

“The breeders seized are condemned, beforehand, for animal mistreatment, whereas they were simply overwhelmed by a situation, working at a loss, often alone. However, the administration also imposes paperwork on them. We talk a lot these days about the animal condition, and that is obviously an excellent thing. But let’s not forget the suffering of men behind that of animals ailments. I have seen breeders come out of the courts crushed”warns Gabrielle Culand (read our interview in Humanity magazine No. 817).

On the side of the fishermen, the living conditions are not much better. With the wages of the sea, director Anne Mourgues immerses us in a daily life of hard work, social injustice, but also solidarity and revolt. We follow Jérémy, his crew and his family, faced with shortages. Indeed, since Brexit, the nets have been coming up almost empty, because the fishermen of Boulonnais (Pas-de-Calais) found themselves brutally deprived of access to British waters. Taken by the throat by loans, bank charges and rising fuel prices, harassed by bailiffs, Jérémy, Cynthia, his wife, and their two children now depend on family help. “There, we have reached a point where we can no longer even feed our children. If we had no parents, we would be homeless! » loose the mother whose strength of character bursts the screen. A moving documentary as the culmination of an Art evening with a very social tone.


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