New French abattoir abuse video prompts nationwide inspections

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Mauléon-Licharre (France) (AFP)

The emergence of a new secretly recorded video showing abuse of livestock at a French slaughterhouse prompted the agriculture minister Tuesday to order nationwide inspections of the facilities.

"Despite stepped-up checks... this is the third video showing such acts of cruelty towards animals," Stephane Le Foll said, ordering that inspections be carried out by the end of April.

The video from an abattoir in the southwestern Basque Country followed two others released by animal rights group L214 last year.

Le Foll recalled that after the first video emerged in October he ordered local governments to work to "prevent all abuse during the slaughter" of livestock.

Abattoirs in the southern towns of Ales and Le Vigan have been closed indefinitely since being secretly filmed by L214, whose name refers to a 1976 legal clause establishing that animals are "sentient beings".

The new video comes from a slaughterhouse in Mauleon-Licharre, in the southwest, which has also been shuttered.

The shocking video includes footage of sheep being bled while still showing signs of consciousness and a lamb being butchered alive.

The L214 videos prompted the French parliament last week to appoint a commission of enquiry.

The Mauleon abattoir's director, Gerard Clemente, told AFP he was "disgusted" by the video and would suspend two of his employees for their "unspeakable" acts.

"But beyond the steps that we will take, it's an indelible stain for the abattoir, for everyone," he said.

Clemente noted that the abattoir counted organic ranchers and small farmers among its clients.

L214 spokesman Sebastien Arsac said the video showed "scenes of severe animal suffering, as well as serious negligence and violence by the staff at the abattoir".