José BovéThe neutrality of this page is disputed
Bové is the son of two agricultural chemists. He was born in Bordeaux, but raised in many different places, both inside and outside France, including Berkeley, California in the United States. His father Joseph, originally from Luxembourg, became a French citizen as he took on the role of regional director of the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences Research (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique or INRA) and member of the French Academy of Sciences. His mother is a professor of natural sciences. Bové speaks English fluently, having followed his parents to Berkeley at the age of three, when they were invited to be researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
After attending secondary school near Paris, he spurned University and instead joined a group of conscientious objectors to military service. This work led him into the occupation of lands in the Larzac which were to be attributed to the French military, where he joined a band of peasants illegally building a sheep barn. There, he learned how to become a dairy farmer, and eventually became a sheep farmer.
He remained a farmer and an activist. In 1987, he formed the Confédération Paysanne (la Conf), an agricultural union that places its highest political values on humans and the environment. In opposition to many companies in the profit-oriented agro-industry, Bové is a prominent opponent of genetically modified organisms. In 1995, he joined Greenpeace on their ship, the Rainbow Warrior, in opposition to nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific Ocean.
In 1999, the United States placed tariffs on the importation of Roquefort cheese as punishment for the European Union's restrictions on importing hormone-treated beef. In response, Bove and other Confédération activists dismantled a half-built McDonald's franchise in Millau (Aveyron). Bové was sentenced to three months in prison for his role in the incident. He was imprisoned 44 days, and was finally released on August 01, 2002. His involvement in this incident garnered world attention to himself and his causes.
Since then, he has redoubled his efforts in the world peasant and anti-globalization movements. He was present at the 1999 protests of the World Trade Organization in Seattle; In 2001, he took part in a large action destroying genetically modified crops in Brazil. In 2002, he was arrested and deported by Israeli police while protesting in Ramallah against the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories; upon his return to France, he was assaulted at Orly Airport by members of the Betar, a far-right Jewish organization. He has also intervened to support the movements of the Tahitians and the Kanaks, an indigenous Melanesian people comprising a large minority of residents in New Caledonia.
On June 22, 2003, Bové began serving a sentence of ten months for the destruction of transgenic crops. ATTAC protested and called for him to be freed. A general pardon for Bastille Day, plus an individual action by President Jacques Chirac, reduced the sentence to end in December. The Left and the Right expressed dissatisfaction with the Presidential pardon on the grounds that it was entirely inadequate and wholly unjustified, respectively.