Decomposed hen corpses that weren't picked up, plucked birds with gaunt necks reduced to living on top of each other in cramped cages, dead mice withered on the ground, lice frolicking over eggs and a thick layer of dirt covering the installations… You have to have a good heart to watch the latest video of the L214 association.
The images made public this Thursday by the NGO were shot in a farm of 200,000 layers located in the Oise.
As every time she denounces the unhealthy conditions of a facility, L214 asks for the "urgent closure" of this farm and announces to file a complaint "for ill-treatment with the Senlis prosecutor".
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Beyond the specific case of this farm, a fundamental question arises: why should we wait for an association to point the finger at dysfunctions in a breeding farm to obtain a reaction from the Ministry of Agriculture and the possible intervention of veterinary services?
“Because the checks are not regular enough and there aren't enough inspectors to do them,” L214 co-founder Sébastien Arsac answered without hesitation.
"In one of the buildings of the breeding in question, thousands of hens do not even benefit from the rudimentary nests required by the regulations since… 2012", underlines the activist of the animal cause.
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The president of the national union of veterinary public health inspectors (SNISPV) does not deny this observation.
“Over the past fifteen years, we have lost 1,200 inspector positions and there have only been 180 positions created between 2015 and 2017,” says Olivier Lapotre.
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In total, the veterinary services community for animal health and food is about 4000 people.
"But depending on the appearance of new diseases or other events, agents can be reassigned to other tasks," adds the president of SNISPV.
This will be the case in particular because of Brexit with the control of animal foodstuffs or animals from Great Britain.
Almost 10% of facilities visited each year
L214 believes that the inspectors "focus anyway more on hygiene problems than on animal protection which is only an adjustment variable".
False, retorts to the cabinet of the Minister of Agriculture: “Our control services carried out 22,670 inspections in farms in 2019.” Of the 240,000 installations, this represents approximately 10% of farms visited each year .
Of which, specifies the ministry, “5000 specifically dedicated to animal welfare.
Less than 4000 gave rise to administrative action, which clearly shows that the majority of farms do not present any shortcomings.
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According to the ministry, “150,000 health visits by veterinarians mandated by the State, which can detect any shortcomings and trigger a specific inspection” are added to these checks.
"In intensive farms, practically no farm scrupulously respects the regulations in force and this is why we see pigs eating each other and lame chickens", explains Sébastien Arsac.
The Minister of Agriculture, Julien Denormandie, recognizes with lip service, as he had already done a few months ago, the association's "role of whistleblower", but wishes to recall that "no one is not entitled to enter private property ”.
"It is up to the State to carry out checks and we are not intended to publicize them", adds an adviser to the Minister.
“The interest of our images is to thwart the discourse of the sectors and the government which say that everything is under control, answers Sébastien Arsac.
These images are a demonstration of the contrary ”.