Jose Bove, the French anti-biotech activist, has been released from prison after his custodial sentence was reduced to community service.

A sheep farmer by trade, Bove rose to fame in 1999 when he protested against the creeping spread of multinational companies by ransacking a McDonald's restaurant under construction. He is currently serving a ten-month sentence for destroying genetically modified maize and rice crops.

Bove will work out his community service at the Larzac Agriculture Association, his lawyer Marie-Christine Ethelin told the press.

His pardon came as part of a traditional Bastille Day initiative which this year saw French president Jacques Chirac relax the sentences of some 3000 prisoners.