New case of animal abuse in French slaughterhouses.

The Laval public prosecutor's office announced Thursday January 18 the upcoming opening of "a judicial investigation which will be entrusted to the gendarmerie", after the complaint filed Wednesday by L214 concerning the Craon slaughterhouse, in Mayenne, declared the prosecutor of the Republic, Anne-Lyse Jarthon.

The complaint from L214, which ultimately campaigns for an end to the breeding and consumption of meat, targets in particular "acts of cruelty, serious abuse and mistreatment", according to the association.

“The images shot at the end of last year show animals still conscious after stunning: calves, cows, oxen, sheep raise their heads and struggle before and after slitting their throats,” indicates L214 in a press release, video at support.

“Cows react to stabbing and guillotine pliers when their front legs, horns or heads are cut off. However, at this point in the slaughter line, the animals should be dead,” according to L214.

The association denounces "structural problems" in this slaughterhouse, which according to it slaughters 4,500 animals each year, and "the absence of intervention by veterinary services".

Sébastien Arsac, co-founder of the association, indicated Thursday that L214 would also file "an appeal against the State for failure to carry out its veterinary control missions" before the administrative courts.

“The four slaughterhouses for meat animals in Mayenne, including the Craon site, are subject to permanent inspection by the state veterinary services,” reacted the prefecture in a press release.

“The State services sent a formal notice on April 21, 2023 to the operator of this slaughterhouse on the conditions of immobilization of the animals before their stunning”, formal notice lifted “on the following July 12 with regard to the actions corrective measures already underway,” the prefecture said.

266,000 euros in subsidies in 2021

At the end of December 2023, "new restraint equipment more suited to all sizes of cattle was put into service", continues the prefecture, for whom the installations filmed by L214 "are therefore not those currently in service within the "Craon slaughterhouse".

"The video very clearly shows non-compliance. For example, the operator begins to work the animal's leather even though it is not dead but only unconscious," the ministry of Agriculture, while noting that these “impressive” images do not “always reflect a state of consciousness or suffering of the animal”.

The office of the Minister of Agriculture Marc Fesneau recalls that the slaughterhouse plan launched in 2021 has “strengthened controls”, “created a national intervention brigade” and “put on the table 115 million euros to support slaughterhouses in their modernization.

It is within the framework of this plan, financed by France Relance, that the municipal slaughterhouse of Craon was selected to receive a subsidy of 266,000 euros in 2021. One of the objectives of this aid, to be implemented in a period of three years, was precisely "the improvement of animal protection".

The city of Craon indicates for its part that "heavy investments have been made in its slaughterhouse" and "refutes" the accusations of L214 against whom "Bertrand de Guébriant, mayor of Craon, reserves the right to file a complaint", according to a communicated.

The Ministry of Agriculture said it would like the subject of the generalization of video control and its “relevance to curbing this type of situation” to be “debated in 2024 within the national slaughterhouse ethics committee”.

Within the European Union, Spain prides itself on being the first country to have made video surveillance in slaughterhouses compulsory by mid-2022.

With AFP

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