His attorney Francois Roux said Bove  has been allowed to return home and work part-time for a local agricultural association for the remaining months of his six-month prison term.

The moustached sheep farmer, who heads a radical French farmer’s union, has become increasingly known around the world for his innovative protests against junk food, US trade tariffs and the risks of GM crops.

The 50-year old Bove courted instant fame by demolishing a half-built McDonald’s restaurant in the southern town of Millau in 1999.

He was taken into custody on 22 June to serve a 10 month sentence, but French President Jacques Chirac cut it down later to six months.

Bove courted instant fame by demolishing a half-built McDonald’s restaurant in the southern town of Millau in 1999.

The original jail term was on two counts — six months for the 1999 destruction of genetically modified rice in the southern town of Montpellier and four months for a similar raid at a site owned by Swiss firm Novartis in 1998.

Prosecutors however said they were considering an appeal against the court ruling for Bove’s early release.

Bove could walk out of the Villeneuve-les-Maguelone prison in southern France by Saturday.

His imprisonment had sparked protests across France, with university researchers, union leaders and left-wing politicians denouncing his imprisonment.

Ten days ago, Bove had lodged a request for his conditional release under a provision that allows prisoners sentenced to less than one year in jail to pursue employment without being under the constant watch of guards.