France orders inspection of abattoirs after animal cruelty video

The Mauléon-Licharre abattoir
The Mauléon-Licharre abattoir © L214

France's agriculture minister has ordered nationwide inspections of abattoirs, after new video footage emerged showing abuse of livestock. The secretly recorded video comes from a slaughterhouse in the southwestern Basque Country which has been shuttered. Stephane Le Foll ordered for inspections be carried out by the end of April.


"Despite stepped-up checks [...] this is the third video showing such acts of cruelty towards animals," said Le Foll, referring to the latest evidence. The footage at the slaughterhouse in Mauléon-Licharre shows sheep being bled while still showing signs of consciousness and a lamb being butchered alive.

Two other similar videos were released by animal rights group L214 last year. Abattoirs in the southern towns of Ales and Le Vigan have been closed indefinitely since being secretly filmed by L214.

The group's name refers to a 1976 legal clause establishing that animals are "sentient beings".

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".

To avoid such treatment, the association is calling for security cameras to be installed in abattoirs and also thorough examinations by veterinary surgeons.

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

The French parliament last week appointed a commission of enquiry into the affair.

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