ROME (Reuters) - Italian farmers from regions ravaged by earthquakes brought sheep to central Rome on Tuesday to protest what they say are serious delays in reconstruction efforts.
More than 10,000 farm animals have been killed or injured by quake damage and subsequent freezing weather, farmers’ association Coldiretti said.
Outside parliament, a makeshift paddock housed three sheep rescued from areas struck by tremors while farmers waved flags and banners reading “Bureaucracy is more deadly than earthquakes”.
Thousands of farming businesses are housed in the central regions of Lazio, Marche, Abruzzo and Umbria where tremors have rumbled since August.
Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has approved a draft law to help people affected by the quakes, including 35 million euros ($37 million) to compensate farmers for lost income.
The law also aims to make it easier for regional governments to buy temporary stalls. Farmers say about 85 percent of their livestock need shelter.
“Breeders still don’t know where to put their surviving cows, pigs and sheep, which are either stuck out in the cold, at risk of death and disease, or in derelict buildings,” the farm association said.
Stress caused by cold and fear has reduced milk production in the region by 30 percent. Local crops like lentils are also at risk as seeds cannot be sown on fractured land, it added.
The agriculture ministry said the process of releasing emergency funds to farmers was under way.
($1 = 0.9458 euros)
Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Julia Glover