Horse News

French slaughterhouse closes due to animal cruelty allegations

After public pressure, including an article in the UK’s (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


by Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

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.

17 replies »

    • Imports are mostly Canadian and possibly also Argentinian as far as official numbers is concerned. They also import many live horses, particularly from Romania through Italy and also from Spain, which it borders from the south. These are not counted as meat imports.

      And don’t forget about food fraud, which is rampant.


      • Horse come from all countries even USA (Florida) are shipped to those countries for money. Big racket/money because a lot of European/Asian countries like to eat horse meat. Don’t be surprise if it’s happening in your neck of the woods. Be aware.


      • Yes, of course, horses from all over the US are shipped for slaughter but mostly to Canada and Mexico, where the foreign-owned slaughter plants are located, and to a lesser extent to Japan. It was also revealed though than in 2014 horses were also shipped live to Russia to a subsidiary of Kaliningrad Meats even though it is illegal to ship by sea horses for the purpose of slaughter pursuant to the 1985 Export Administration Amendments Act.

        However, Western Europe countries do not import from the US live horses for slaughter. They do from other EU countries and of course they import the meat produced at Canadian and Mexican plants (now mostly the former).


  1. What kind of individual does this? I would like to take a electric PROD of the highest magnitude of electricity and shock these people. Cruelty runs rampid all over the World. It must STOP and the perpetrators fined and jailed to the fullest extent. How many US horses or Horse meat ended up there. The time has come to fight Horse and Equine slaughter on all fronts. US Legislators need to get off their asses and put the car in drive. How much more do US Legislators need to hear?? I’d like to see how many receive kick backs from these foreign companies. And who is verifying US horses are free from drugs?? Are USDA employees involved in this scam?? It sickens me to see this cruelty. The BLM is no better…a rogue arm of our government that continues to us tax payers monies to perprate cruelty and death to our Wild Horses and Burros..We need to pass the Safe Food, Safe Horse Act immediately!! We need to DEMAND that the US government totally dismantle and fire all the people involved!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On Monday the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, published an analysis linking colorectal cancer to the consumption of processed meats and red meat. Processed meats (sausage, ham, pastrami, bacon, etc) and red meats (lamb, pork, veal, beef, mutton, HORSE) have been declared as putting humans at greater risk of these serious diseases. All of us have a choice to limit the suffering of all sentient animals, not just horses, and in the process, having better physical health. I decry the artificial fences erected ethically and morally between dogs and cats and other domestics often kept as pets and the horrific cruelty visited upon chickens, ducks, geese, cattle, pigs and other so-called “human utility” animals. We must not fool ourselves about the truths.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. as horses should not be categorized as livestock due to the various other uses of them I am against horse slaughter in general. With all the options of animals breed to be eaten there is no reason for this.
    I hope this slaughter house remains closed and all the others are forced to follow.


  4. You DO have the power.. Each and Every One of You

    France cut bullfighting from its cultural heritage list
    Despite the French government’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls being an avid fan of the outdated and cruel tradition of bullfighting, the country gave in to pressure from animal rights activists and removed ‘La Corrida’ from its cultural heritage list in June 2015.
    By doing so, France made bullfights unprotected by UNESCO, which means in the future the practice could still be abolished and not considered a culturally historical pastime that should be preserved.

    Universities and labs will no longer be experimenting on chimpanzees
    After years of concerned citizens protesting the use of chimpanzees in medical research done by academic institutions like Stonybrook University and labs like Southwest National Primate Research Center, the message was finally heard.
    Starting in September 2015, chimpanzees have been considered endangered as part of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and can no longer be experimented on unless a special permit is obtained from the National Fish and Wildlife Service. The kicker is that exactly zero labs have applied for that permit fearing backlash from animal rights groups.

    The Navy agreed to limit sonar testing that harms whales and dolphins
    For 15 years groups like the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) have fought with the U.S. Navy over its sonar testing. Blasting sonar waves under the ocean in order to locate submarines, the tests harm and kill whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions who go deaf, become disoriented, panic and develop bleeding in their ears and brain.
    In 2013, despite knowing that a new test would kill and injure 2000 animals, the National Marine Fisheries Service approved plans for it. Activists sued and in a settlement the government agreed that the Navy will no longer conduct these tests in areas that are vital to the animals’ reproduction, feeding or migrating, and areas that harbor small populations of them.

    Foie Gras is banned in many countries and restaurants
    Personally, we can’t see the appeal of fatty duck liver as a delicacy and thanks to the work of animal rights organizations, over a dozen countries can’t either. Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K. have all outright banned the cruel production of foie gras, which involves shoving a tube down a duck’s throat to make them eat more than they ever could on their own.
    World famous chefs like Wolfgang Puck and Ron Hoffman also refuse to serve foie gras since the tragic way in which it’s made has been exposed.

    A lot of designers have stopped using fur in their collections
    You know what puts a real damper on a shopping day? Finding out the coat you just got cost a cute and fuzzy creature its life — and in the bloodiest, most horror movie-like, can’t look it’s so bad, skinned alive kind of way, too. Animal protection groups like PETA and the Humane Society of the United States have had demonstrations and investigations into the fur industry for years to show consumers and CEOs that there’s nothing fashionable about fur.
    Now mainstream designers like Stella McCartney, Dries Van Noten, Sonia Rykiel, Kate Spade and others are working exclusively with faux fur, sparing the innocent lives of animals.

    EU and other countries banned animal testing for cosmetics
    Thanks to the work of organizations like Cruelty Free International, more and more people are checking the labels of their lipsticks and face makeup to make sure no animal was harmed in its production — and not buying them if they were.
    Showing people not just how painful those tests are on animals like Beagles and bunnies but also educating them on other cruelty-free alternatives has not only encouraged brands to stop animal testing but lawmakers to prevent the stubborn ones from continuing it.
    The European Union, New Zealand, Israel and India are among the countries that have banned cosmetics animal testing and the work continues to get other countries to join the movement.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Many criticize my work to save animals from the cruel behaviors of humans, and I say to them— “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who would look on and do nothing” Albert Einstein
    Louie C has outlined the hard, prolonged and thankless difficulties of trying to get Homo sapiens to remember we are just one of the animals on Earth.


    • There also are the ones who “cant look” because it makes them sad! If only THEY would wake up & realize that acknowledging the fact that these cruelties are allowed to continue might mean that more animals could be saved. Watching the videos of horse slaughter – hard as it was – crushed my soul – but it also caused me to realize theres NO difference in the cruelty – slaughter is just that – slaughter! Not humane in any way shape for form.


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