• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Secret video reveals cruelty at 'humane' French abattoir
Photo: L214

Secret video reveals cruelty at 'humane' French abattoir

Oliver Gee · 23 Feb 2016, 12:15

Published: 23 Feb 2016 12:15 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Feb 2016 12:15 GMT+01:00

Petrified sheep being thrown through the air against metal barriers, cows with slit throats struggling while hanging by their legs in obvious distress, and pigs convulsing violently after electric shocks.
 
These were the scenes published on Tuesday by animal rights group L214, all of which were filmed at a supposedly "animal friendly" abattoir in Vigan, in the Gard département of southern France. 
 
The abattoir is certified as organic (certifié bio in French) - meaning the standards of treatment towards the animals is supposedly higher. They are often referred to as "humane slaughterhouses".
 
However Johanne Mielcarek from L214 told The Local that in reality that doesn't mean that the animals are treated any better.
 
"It's absolutely scandalous, and extremely shocking," she said. 
 
Vets contacted by the group agreed that the video showed "severe abuse" of the animals.
 
Scenes show employees at the abattoir punching and hitting sheep, while one laughs at the top of his voice as he administers a small electric shock to a sheep, just to see its reaction.
 
"The violence and sadism is frequent," reads the video's narrator.
 
Other clips show animals hanging by one leg struggling in distress, after they were supposed to have been humanely put down.
 
The video is embedded below and contains extremely graphic images. Viewer discretion is advised. 
 
 
L214's Mielcarek says that it's "unsurprising" that the "organic" abattoir isn't humane in its treatment of animals, adding that it all comes down to vague wording by authorities.
 
"When you look at the European regulations, there isn't much information about the actual act of slaughter and how it should be carried out. It's more about how animals shouldn't be 'mistreated'," she said. 
 
"Even though the workers are stunning the animals before slaughtering them, you can see in the video that it's not working properly. And one employee even seems to be enjoying himself."
 
She said the group had called for an immediate reaction from the French government, as well as a "thorough investigation on all slaughterhouse practices in France". 
 
And the other primary change, she said, can be made by the public. 
 
"We want people to aware, to think about their own responsibility, and of course, to think about stopping eating meat."
 
"These animals are sentient beings after all, just like cats and dogs," she said.
 
Story continues below…
The head of the abattoir in Vigan, Laurent Kauffman, told BFM TV that he was "particularly shocked" to see the footage. 
 
"These are unacceptable acts, they are scandalous," he told the channel. "I am not always on site, but I have never seen this myself and I am disappointed."
 
The abattoir was closed down "provisionally" on Tuesday afternoon.
 
Animal rights campaigner Brigitte Bardot was among those outraged by the video, and called for the Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll to be stripped of his nationality. 
 
The animal rights group published a similar video in October from an abattoir in Alès, also in the Gard département of southern France. The video was filmed at a typical slaughterhouse (not an "organic" one), and showed similar scenes to Tuesday's footage. 
 
The local mayor closed down the Alès abattoir soon after the video made the rounds online. 
 
"You probably thought that video was a one-off," says the narrator of the latest horror clip. "But it wasn't."

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
13 injured in Welsh bus accident in France
The bus ended on its side in a ditch. Two helicopters were dispatched to the site. Photo: AFP

Thirteen people were injured, three of them seriously, when a bus carrying teenagers from Wales tipped over on a motorway in eastern France on Saturday, the local gendarmerie said.

Libya armed groups urge fight against French troops
Dozens of protesters rallied Friday outside the GNA’s former headquarters in a Tripoli navy base. Photo: AFP

Armed groups including Islamists have urged Libyans to mobilise against French and other foreign troops deployed in the country, denouncing their presence as a “blatant aggression”.

EgyptAir flight broke up midair after fire: report
The Airbus A320 was en route from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean. Photo: AFP

An EgyptAir flight that crashed into the Mediterranean in May likely broke up in midair after a fire erupted in or near the cockpit, the New York Times has reported.

IMF boss Lagarde to stand trial over $400 million payout
Lagarde will be the third successive IMF chief to face trial. Photo: AFP

IMF chief Christine Lagarde was ordered Friday to stand trial in France over a massive state payout to a colourful tycoon when she was French economy minister, dealing a setback to her stellar career.

Hollande defends minister under fire over Nice attack
The Nice assault was the third major attack on French soil in the past 18 months. Photo: AFP

French President Francois Hollande on Friday defended his government from accusations it relaxed its anti-terror defences after the Euro championships, and announced plans to arm the fight against the Islamic State group which claimed the Nice attack.

Why was Nice ordered to delete CCTV images of attack?
Photo: AFP

The fact that city authorities in Nice were asked to delete images of the truck attack has only given weight to those criticizing the government.

Thirteen free and easy ways to learn French
Photo: Runs With Scissors/Flickr

Struggling to learn French? Here are some free and easy ways to help you conquer the language once and for all.

32 mistakes foreigners make when they arrive in France
Photo: Tatyana A./Flickr

How many of these have you committed?

France to supply Iraq artillery as it steps up fight against Isis
Photo: AFP

France is stepping up its battle against Isis in the Middle East.

How to show solidarity with France? Don’t cancel your trip
Photo: AFP

The best way to show fraternity with France after the latest terror attack is not on Facebook or Twitter, but by coming to visit.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Six outdoor bars in Paris you simply must visit
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
The open-air Villette cinema has been cancelled over security fears
Culture
Henri Rousseau exhibition proves huge hit in Paris
National
Frenchman caught trying to sell Nice massacre souvenirs online
Society
OPEN NOW: Here's why you should head to the Paris Plages
Culture
What's on in France: Still plenty to see and do in July
Lifestyle
Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Nice attack: What we know so far
National
Nice attacker: Body-building, drug-taking, violent flirt
National
IN IMAGES: Drawings in tribute to Nice attack victims
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Promenade des Anglais: The iconic heart of the French Riviera
France faces more questions after latest deadly attack
National
Why is France the target of choice for jihadist attacks?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Nice truck attack: 'Bodies went flying like bowling pins'
Nice attack: Families of missing make pleas on Twitter
Politics
Boris Johnson cheered and booed at Bastille Day party
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Ten reasons not to leave Paris this summer
Ten ways other expats in France drive you mad
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
'Very Stupid' village in France honoured for its silly name
Travel
Ten crazy things to do in France if you dare
Society
Paris: an obstacle course for wheelchair users
Brits ignore Brexit fears to make dream move to France
2,763
jobs available