After public pressure, including an article in the UK’s dailymail.com (warning: graphic content and photos), a French slaughterhouse closes.
Shocking footage shows a terrified horse shying away from a stall and being beaten with an electric baton
French Slaughterhouse Closes Amid Animal Cruelty Allegations
In an unprecedented move in a country known for its hippophagia culture, public pressure has led to the closure of a French slaughterhouse.
Video footage from inside the slaughterhouse in Alès, in southeastern France, showed scenes of “blatant cruelty,” an animal rights association said. The slaughterhouse processed about 3,000 horses per year, in addition to cattle, sheep, and pigs.
“We see horses refusing to enter the stun area, getting hit with sticks to go in, knocking themselves against the door of the stunning room as it closes on them,” said Brigitte Gothière, president of the association L214 Éthique & Animaux in Lyon, France. The association made video compilations from Alès for scenes of each species, including horses, and released them for public viewing.
Within hours of the video releases last week, Max Roustan, the mayor of Alès, announced the closure of the municipal slaughterhouse. Several weeks earlier following a standard national veterinary inspection, the slaughterhouse had received a warning that its procedures needed to be improved. State services had been scheduled to return to the slaughterhouse in the coming weeks to verify that “non-conforming professional practices” had ceased.
“We owe it to horses to provide them with a humane and decent end of life, whatever that end may be,” said Charles F. Trolliet, DVM, president of the Swiss Equestrian Federation in Bern, Switzerland, in response to the Alès videos. “If we’re going to slaughter horses, we need to provide local slaughterhouses so they don’t have to travel far. And the slaughterhouses need to specialize in horses, taking into account their various physical and psychological needs, with personnel trained in equine welfare, to make their end of life as painless and low-stress as possible.”
The L214 videos resulted in more than 200,000 signatures on an online petition to close the slaughterhouse, despite the fact that it has already closed.
A judicial investigation of the slaughterhouse practices is now underway.