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France intend to better animal welfare

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The French Ministry for Agriculture has launched a four-year animal welfare strategy, a first step for the country, which is far behind its European partners in this respect, EurActiv reports. The recent publication of a video by animal ethics group L214, showing shocking violence in an organic certified abattoir in the Basque Country, has brought the subject firmly into the spotlight. While recognizing the animal welfare efforts that have been made in areas other than abattoirs since the beginning of the current presidential mandate, the ministry has also scheduled an urgent inspection of all of France’s 263 abattoirs in April.

A further €350 million of state aid have been made available to encourage a total investment of €1 billion in the renovation or construction of new animal accommodation, as part of the Agriculture Ministry’s animal welfare measures. While the minister supports this ambitious new plan, the resources allocated to it are modest: Paris plans to create just 60 positions per year for the veterinary surveillance of abattoirs.

For Brigitte Gothière from L214, the surveillance of abattoirs is insufficient, because “800 million chickens, five million cows and 25 million pigs are killed in France each year”. Under current rules, the employees and managers of abattoirs can be notified of contraventions of the law, but in practice this measure is hardly used.

France has a history of dragging its feet on animal welfare issues, compared to its European partners. The lack of interest is particularly visible in the European Parliament, where French MEPs have been conspicuously quiet on the subject, especially in comparison to some of their Nordic colleagues.


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