If a part of opacity begins to rise on the mystery of the mutilated horses, the veil is far from being completely dispelled.
The arrival of a second epidemic wave, coupled with a re-containment, did not completely stop the succession of injuries, lacerations or even amputations observed on horses in France.
While their number has continued to grow since the spring in about fifty French departments, three months ago, the Minister of the Interior mentioned the existence of 153 investigations relating to the mutilations of equines, of which about thirty corresponding to "extremely violent wounds", with more than twenty cut ears and genital mutilation.
Since then, other chilling cases continue to blacken the pages of various local newspapers, at different rates: there an emasculated and enucleated stallion, on November 18 in the Hérault, here, a six-year-old mare found dead in a center equestrian of Gironde, with post-mortem mutilation, This Monday again, a 25-year-old horse was discovered lifeless in the Jura, with one eye and one ear severed.
81 facts "formally of human origin"
Three months after the intervention of Gérald Darmanin, if the psychosis remains among the owners of horses, the incomprehension begins to interfere: an initial assessment of the investigators makes it possible to rule out, in a large majority of cases, the intervention human.
In its latest inventory of these equine injuries, published on December 2 by the French Institute of Horse and Riding (IFCE), the gendarmerie says it has been called upon, since the beginning of the year, to “ 499 acts of cruelty or death of equines ”.
Among them, she explains, "81 are formally of human origin", "65 are the subject of additional investigations or remain doubtful" and "353 are excluded from the phenomenon due to natural causes", that is to say more than 70% of the facts.
No suspect has so far been implicated.
"In a good part of the cases, there was no human action", already warned on September 6 Jacques Diacono, of the Office of fight against the attacks to the environment and to public health (Oclaesp) , responsible for coordinating investigations, with Liberation.
He said he saw in these wounds "a bit of everything, natural deaths, scavengers and men".
Mutilated horses: the disturbing note from territorial intelligence
In some areas, the phenomenon of mutilated horses has even dried up.
"Since the end of September we have no more reports", indicated Friday to Ouest-France the commander Olivier Maldant of the company of Vitré (Ille-et-Vilaine).
Which confirms the absence of human action: “Each time, our investigations have concluded with accidental injuries or attacks of wild animals.
A phenomenon which "emerged and withered away"
According to the daily, in the department which lists about twenty injuries, all the investigations will soon be closed.
For some with an obvious explanation: "Sometimes it was simply a nail sticking out of a fence and resulting in injuries that could suggest the use of a knife or scalpel", describes a gendarme.
“Last month we had the case of two horses who were injured on their own.
One grazed himself on barbed wire and the other rubbed himself while he had an edema ”, also reports the communication officer of the gendarmerie for the Normandy region, about a phenomenon which , in his area, "has emerged and withered away, even if the patrols continue".
In Orne, however, at least three recent reports show serious injuries to equines.
The gendarme specifies that "as soon as facts are reported, there is an examination on the animal, technicians in criminal investigation as well as a specialized veterinarian are brought in and the surroundings are considered a crime scene.
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The enthusiasm generated by the toll-free number set up by the Ministry of Agriculture in early September is also declining.
This line intended for horse owners gives the pulse of the excitement aroused by these enigmatic mutilations.
"It was very marked the first month, we received 700 calls, then 150 in October and November, which makes 5 or 6 calls per day", develops with the Parisian Mathilde Dhollande, communication manager for the system of information relating to equines (SIRE), which manages this line.
"We have 150 people a month who are worried"
The equine specialist notes an evolution of calls: “In September, they were worried people, who wanted advice to secure their places of detention of horses, to which we relayed the recommendations of the gendarmerie.
Mutilated horses: the distressing black series that creates panic among breeders
"Now it's more variable," continues Mathilde Dhollande.
There have been more deaths and mutilations in recent weeks, so even if it is not human hands, it will rekindle the stress and we will have a wave of calls from worried people, or who have filed a complaint and want to testify or obtain information about the investigation.
According to her, the toll-free number is not about to hang up.
“Not until all the investigations are more advanced.
We still have 150 people a month who are worried and need answers, "sweeps the young woman.
The recent assessment of the gendarmes, giving pride of place to accidents, does not surprise this equine expert.
“Horses are animals with fragile skin, which have a great capacity to injure themselves in improbable places.
And then all the pastures or the areas that welcome them are not always well secured, she sketches.
On the other hand, there are real acts of cruelty, where we can say that the horse did not do this on its own.
"Mathilde Dhollande puts forward another argument:" The gendarmerie recommends making a report when a notch is found, so it is normal that many declarations were ultimately unsuccessful.
" Why him ?
Why did you do that to her?
So there remains, according to the figures, more than 80 human acts of cruelty for 11 months and about sixty cases causing trouble.
A substantial list for a sector whose trauma remains alive.
"Before, I managed to keep these attacks at a distance, I told myself that it would not happen here, we have to get there in the village where I live ...", slips Vinciane, including Canaly, one of the five horses , was found atrociously mutilated, in the Hérault, the eye and the genitals cut out.
The death of her animal on November 18 changed everything.
“I am now fighting to find out why.
Why him ?
Why did you do that to her?
this mother rages.
It has been too far.
My horses are a bit like my kids.
It's like rape, we entered our privacy, our property, it's unthinkable… ”The prosecution ruled from the start that this death was linked to an animal act, but investigations are continuing to find the or the authors.
“I call the gendarmerie once a week to find out where it is.
We do not yet have the results of the necropsy (the autopsy of the horse) and for the blood and swabs analyzes, we have to wait several weeks ”, details Vinciane, who says she is“ combative ”, but also“ totally in the blur ".
“I have ups and downs,” describes the breeder, who can count on the psychological help of a group of enthusiasts.
I have four horses, so I get angry very quickly, I tell myself if they could have done that to my horses, they can do that to my child… ”
"People don't sleep anymore"
“The psychosis is still there, people don't sleep anymore.
As soon as a new horse is injured, they are on the teeth… ”, confirms Emmanuelle, administrator of the Facebook page“ Horse attack alert France ”which brings together 1,500 owners and enthusiasts.
She says she receives about fifty membership requests per day, proof that these mysterious injuries continue to intrigue.
And in his group, the share of cases attributed to natural causes is somewhat denigrated.
“We had this mare with a deep cut on the side,” says Emmanuelle.
The gendarmes we deduce that it was a question of an injury linked to a stake, but its owner told me that it was impossible, that she did not see which stake it could be.
An eastern horse owner is also worried.
“The owners do not agree with these conclusions.
Sometimes the cutouts on the animals were very clean, so the pressure mounts and people watch their own animals, but until when?
While waiting for the conclusions of other investigations, thousands of Internet users are working on various theories, sometimes frankly eccentric, of the trafficking of horse organs to the Satanist sect, through possible settling of scores, the trail of the nationalist group. Turkish Gray Wolves, or the deliberate role of… UFOs.
“We went around in circles on many hypotheses, admits Emmanuelle, who wants to continue to study certain scenarios.
For us there is surely a starting group and then sporadic small groups of copycat (copiers), who do similar acts, but confuse the message.
"She wants to continue to feed her Facebook page, even if the horse enthusiast is now convinced:" We will not have the end of this story, and it's a huge disappointment.