The footage shows blood pouring from the necks of calves as they fight for their lives with others trapped in tiny stalls at a French veal factory where their meat is exported and their skins sold to the world’s top designers.
A 67-page report released by animal rights organisation L214 targets the Sobeval factory – one of four owned by Dutch veal production company VanDrie – in Boulazac on the outskirts of Perigueux, the capital of the Dordogne department in the south-western French region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.
Video Credit: CEN/L214
The report says the factory “has a very high production rate with cutting-edge technology, but it still commits routine infractions to the animal protection regulations in place [in France].”
According to L214, the factory kills 3,400 calves a week. They sell to the supermarkets Auchan and Carrefour, and export their meat under various labels to Egypt, Israel, Japan, the USA and soon Canada. They also produce regular, halal and kosher veal.
As well as meat products, the factory also produces leather for France’s top designers including Gucci, Chanel and Hermes.
On their website, VanDrie claim to be “the world market leader in veal” and boast holding 28 per cent of Europe’s market share. They also claim that “since 2009, the VanDrie Group has produced veal with the Beter Leven seal of approval, issued by the Dutch Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Veal bearing the Beter Leven seal of approval meets higher demands in relation to animal welfare […].”
This extremely disturbing 12-minute clip is reportedly but a small segment showing the violations L214 allege took place at a VanDrie factory. Activists claim to have over 6 hours of footage that they are submitting to the prosecutor’s office this morning (Thursday) along with a complaint.
L214 co-founder and head of investigations, Sebastien Arsac, told Central European News (CEN): “We are also filing a liability action against the [French] state.”
In their report, L214 state: “At the Sobeval slaughterhouse, the use of “pneumatic” pistols without cartridges increases slaughter rates, but also promotes stress and animal avoidance reactions. The stunning also seems less precise with this tool, and can lead to more frequent “misfires” of stunning and animals regaining consciousness during processing.”
L214 are demanding that the factory be immediately shut down.
L214 have also written to French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume and “expect a speedy reply” from him.
The Sobeval factory in Boulazac on the outskirts of Perigueux is located not far from the foie gras production facility that made international headlines last year.
That footage was filmed at the Domaine de la Peyrouse foie gras production facility in Coulounieix-Chamiers, which is also on the outskirts of Perigueux. It shows male ducklings being separated from the female ones. The males go on to be force-fed while the females are thrown away alive into huge wheelie bins where they are left to starve or suffocate to death under each other’s bodies.
The males meanwhile are force-fed for 10 to 12 days, mainly by students, a process that causes them to gasp for breath and to have diarrhoea. According to L214, the animals’ mortality rate increases tenfold during this process.
The L214 association takes its name from article L214-1 of the French Rural Code: “Any sentient animal must be placed by its owner under conditions compatible with the biological imperatives of its species.”
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