French hunter kills bear that bit him

A 70-year-old hunter killed a bear in southwest France Saturday after it attacked and seriously wounded him, local officials said.

A brown bear is pictured in the semi-wildlife animal park of Les Angles, southwestern France.
Brown bears had nearly disappeared in France until the country began a reintroduction programme, importing them from Slovenia. AFP PHOTO / RAYMOND ROIG

The female bear, who was travelling with her cubs, bit him as he was hunting in the Seix region of Ariege, a source close to the case said.

Rescued by the local gendarmerie, he was transported to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Toulouse with a wound to his leg at the level of his femoral artery, officials at the prefecture in Ariege said.

One source close to the case said he was in a serious condition.

The hunter told local officials he had been out with a group of other hunters on the trail of a boar, when the female bear, who was travelling with her cubs, attacked him.

After being wounded, the hunter shot the bear twice, killing it.

The local gendarme unit was called out to rescue him at around 3:30 pm (1430 GMT). They discovered the body of the bear a few metres from where they had found the hunter.

An investigation has been opened into the incident, the prefecture in Ariege said.

One local official told AFP on Saturday: “This is really what we feared.”

“Today, you can really see that cohabitation is complicated,” said Christine Tequi, president of the Ariege department council.

The brown bear had nearly disappeared in this part of the world when France began a programme of reintroducing them, importing them from Slovenia.

Today, there are around sixty of them in the Pyrenees range, leading to increasing tensions with local farmers, because of the threat they pose to their livestock.

In 2020, three bears were illegally killed in the Pyrenees: two of them in Spain and one in France. The French government has committed to replacing any bear killed by a man.

READ ALSO: The decades-old battle between French farmers and conservationists over bears
READ ALSO: What are the most dangerous animals in France?

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French agriculture minister condemns ‘cruel practices’ after shocking video from intensive pig farm

The French agricultural ministry has condemned "unacceptable practices" after an animal rights group released a video showing pigs being mistreated on a factory farm in Burgundy.

French agriculture minister condemns 'cruel practices' after shocking video from intensive pig farm
Illustration photo: Damien MEYER / AFP.

A police investigation has been launched after the French animal rights group L214 published a video on Thursday, August 19th, from an intensive pig farm in the Yonne département in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

The images are accompanied by the account of whistleblower Grégory Boutron, a former employee who has told how he quit his job and fell into depression after being shocked by the mistreatment of the animals. 

“What shocked me was seeing the person in charge relentlessly stab the sows with a screwdriver when they didn’t want to move, or hit them in the head with a metal bar,” Boutron said.

“They cut their tails with an iron,” and castrate piglets without anesthetic, he said.

Images filmed by Boutron with his mobile phone show piglets moving after being struck against the floor, and squealing while they are having their teeth and tails cut, as well as pigs being given electric shocks and red marks supposedly resulting from being prodded with a screwdriver.

“Before I left, they bought an electric battery, and when there was a sow that didn’t want to keep walking, they set upon her.”

Warning: disturbing images

Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie condemned the practices in a tweet on Thursday, and confirmed that authorities had already begun investigating the farm before the video was released.

“An investigation was launched in June following a complaint made against this farm. It remains ongoing,” the Ministry of Agriculture and Food said in a press release, adding that they “strongly condemn the unacceptable practices shown in these images”.

“If the inspection undertaken in June did not flag any unacceptable situations or behaviours like those seen in the video constituting acts of cruelty […] further investigations will be carried out.

“In addition, the castration of piglets without anesthetic, as shown in these videos, will be banned in France from January 1st, 2022.”

Local prosecutor Hugues de Phily confirmed to AFP that a complaint had been made in February and that the gendarmerie had been charged with undertaking a preliminary investigation.

The intensive farm houses 1,800 sows. It belongs to the Provent-SDPR group, which manages, directly or indirectly, a hundred pig farms across France, according to L214.

The organisation has called on the government to ban the practice of “thumping” piglets against the ground, as well as cutting their tails without anesthetic.

They have launched a petition which you can sign HERE.