L214 today unveils a new investigation concerning a pig farm in Yonne. This time, it is a question of an intensive breeding of 1,800 sows, which represents a breeding three times larger than those usually found in France. At its head is the Provent-SDPR group, which directly or indirectly operates around a hundred pigsties.
A farm employee, who worked for more than two years in the pigsty, denounces the serious abuse and mistreatment of animals. Rarely, he speaks with his face uncovered. We can see in the images, taken with his mobile phone, of sows receiving multiple blows of the screwdriver to make them move faster. Swollen all over the body, sows are dying on the concrete floor of the farm. Young sows have their teeth cut with pincers. The pictures also show the raw tail trimming and piglets cracking.
In addition to serious abuse, many regulatory violations have been identified in the breeding:
- The cutting of piglets' tails (tail docking) is systematic (prohibited in the decree of January 16, 2003 - appendix I, chap 1. 8);
- In the boar house (room where sows are caged at the start and end of gestation), the sows do not have access to water (requirement of the decree of January 16, 2003 - appendix I, chap 1. 7 );
- When the sows are in a group, the breeding densities are too high (density regulated in the decree of January 16, 2003 - article 3);
- Sows do not have access to handling materials (requirement of the decree of January 16, 2003 - appendix I);
- Injured sows are not treated (requirement of the rural code - Chapter VI, article 226.6);
- The teeth of gilts (young sows of several months) are cut with pincers (prohibited in the decree of 16 January 2003 - appendix I, chap 1. 8);
- The electric prod is abused (regulated by the European regulation of September 24, 2009 - appendix III, point 1.9).
On the images, we can also see the rendering area where dead pigs of all ages are stored. Some corpses are literally eaten by maggots. One of the dumpsters, from which the bones emerge, is filled with them.
The video also reveals a particularly cruel method practiced in pig farms: the breaking down of piglets. Those who are deemed to be the least profitable are violently knocked out right after birth. This operation is supposed to kill them quickly, which is far from always the case.
The whistleblower wanted to talk about mistreatment with his manager. Without a response from him, he denounced the facts to the director of the establishment. His reports went unanswered. After two years of work, deeply shocked by animal abuse, in depression, he filed a complaint against Livestock.
Decided to make the images he filmed public, his request is final: "What I would like is that the person in charge no longer works in this area, and that he close the pigsty completely because it will continue." All the time. "
The whistleblower assures that he has never seen any checks by the veterinary services in the farm. L214 files a complaint for serious abuse with the prosecutor of Auxerre. Mr Hugues de Phily. The latter confirmed to Agence France-Presse (AFP) this filing of a complaint, dating from February, and the opening of a preliminary investigation, entrusted to the gendarmerie as well as to the veterinary services.
In a press release, the Yonne prefecture informed that the operator of the pigsty was "put on notice" following an inspection of the farm on June 1, and the finding of "non- conformities ” . This unannounced check, carried out by the veterinary services of the departmental directorate of employment, labor, solidarity and the protection of populations (DDETSPP), "followed a report filed with the gendarmerie" , it is specified.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food, Julien Denormandie, condemned in a press release "unacceptable practices relayed by these images" :
"If the inspection carried out in June did not reveal any unacceptable situation or behavior such as those shown in the videos and relating to acts of cruelty (assault and battery with screwdrivers and matadors, improper use of batteries) electrical, pinch wedges reduction without pain management, etc.), additional investigations will be carried out. "
The ministry hopes that the investigation carried out will make it possible to "sanction any deviations or proven breaches of the regulations in force".
"The DDETSPP informed the operator that a new inspection would be carried out to verify the compliance of his breeding" , according to the prefecture, which ensures the "full mobilization" of the veterinary services of the DDETSPP.
The interprofessional pork, Inaporc, declined to comment immediately, telling AFP to be "fully mobilized to understand what happened on this farm" .
Via an online petition , the association calls for an immediate inspection of the breeding farm, its upgrading and that sanctions be taken.
Live castration of piglets will be banned on January 1, 2022 . L214 asks the government that the cutting of live tails, a source of extreme suffering for animals, is also prohibited and that the slapping of piglets is also prohibited.
Sébastien Arsac, director of investigations and spokesperson for L214, affirms: “We salute the courage of this employee who decided to make public the serious abuse committed on the animals at the pigsty of Tremblats, in the Yonne. The sows and piglets in this farm already live a miserable life, as in the majority of pig farms (95% of pig farms are intensive), they are also violently mistreated without management reaction. Let us demand sanctions for this breeding and a ban on the breaking down of piglets as well as the raw cutting of their tails. "
THE SLACKING OF PIGLETS, AN ILLEGAL BARBARIAN PRACTICE
Piglets judged to have little economic potential (puny, lame, etc.) are eliminated at birth. The practice of slamming consists of bringing them down by grabbing them by the hind legs to violently strike their head on a hard surface (the ground in most cases). When they do not die instantly, the operation is repeated or the piglets are left dying on the ground or in a garbage can.
This practice concerns millions of piglets every year in France.
However, in appendix III 4.a of the decree of 12 December 1997 relating to the procedures for immobilizing, stunning and killing animals and the conditions of animal protection in slaughterhouses, percussion, as a method. prior stunning, is only authorized in slaughterhouses and via a mechanical process: “this process is only authorized if a mechanical instrument is used that administers a blow to the head. The operator ensures that the instrument is applied in the required position and that the cartridge loading is correct and according to the manufacturer's instructions to achieve effective stunning without fracture of the skull. "
The pig industry tries to justify the breakdown of piglets by the emergency slaughter provided for in article 1099 of the European regulation of September 24, 2009 concerning the protection of animals at the time of their killing. The latter authorizes to take " all necessary measures " in the event of an urgent killing.
Article 2.d of this regulation defines emergency killing as "the killing of animals injured or suffering from a disease causing severe pain or suffering when there is no other possibility. practice of alleviating such pain or suffering. "
However, piglets are broken down against animals that are more puny than others but in good health. They are therefore not affected by the emergency killing provisions.
If an animal is injured, it should not be slaughtered but cared for and isolated if necessary. The decree of 25 October 1982 (appendix I, 2.d) mentions that a veterinarian must be consulted as soon as possible when an animal is injured.
Breakdown, a barbaric method of slaughter, is therefore an absolutely illegal practice.
TAIL CUTTING, A PAINFUL AND ILLEGALLY PRACTICE MUTILATION
In order to limit the impact of injuries that animals often inflict on each other (especially bites) due to poor breeding conditions, piglets' tails are cut (docking), raw, from an early age. This practice is very painful for animals.
In the summary of its Animal Pain report, the National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA) mentions that cutting tails is a source of pain for pigs (page 68): “In fact, the tail is innervated until its extremity in newborn pigs and piglets show defensive reactions and squeals during tail trimming. Finally, after tail docking, we can assume the existence of chronic pain similar to that described in humans after amputation. "
In a 2019 report, the European Commission pointed out that the systematic tail cutting of pigs was carried out in 99% of French farms.
However, the regulations in force explicitly prohibit the routine cutting of pig tails, and require that the pig rearing conditions be modified if they give rise to behavioral disorders such as tail biting: "The partial section of the tail and corner reduction cannot be achieved on a routine basis. Before performing these procedures, other measures should be taken to prevent tail biting and other defects, environmental conditions or flock management systems should be changed if they are not appropriate. "
These provisions voted in 2001 at European level, were transposed into French law in 2003 and entered into force in France in 2013 . French pig farms are therefore completely illegal.
88% of French people are opposed to intensive breeding ( YouGov survey 2019 for L214 ), and 85% are against mutilation practiced on pigs (cutting tails, grinding teeth, castration for males) ( YouGov survey 2017 for L214 ).