The French Minister of Agriculture has said that he “firmly condemns” the “unacceptable practices” seen in this graphic footage of pig carcasses being devoured by maggots and pregnant sows being hit with screwdrivers.
The footage, which has gone viral online and in French media, was provided to Newsflash by the founder of animal rights organisation L214, Sebastien Arsac.
Arsac said in an exclusive interview that disposing of their corpses in such a way is a gross violation of the rules governing their removal.
The French Minister of Agriculture, Julien Denormandie, 41, said in a tweet after the footage went viral, that the farm had been under investigation since June.
He said: “I firmly condemn the unacceptable practices relayed by the videos of a pig farm in Yonne. This breeding has been the target of an investigation since last June, well before the video. It will make it possible to penalise breaches of the regulations in force.”
L214 said in the statement that the footage was shot at a pig farm called SCEA Les Tremblats II, located in the commune of Annay sur Serein in the north-central Yonne department, about 230 kilometres (140 miles) south-east of Paris.
The disturbing images allegedly show pregnant sows being stabbed and beaten with screwdrivers with one apparently suffering a heart attack as a result.
L214 said: “A farm worker, who worked for more than two years on the pig farm, is denouncing the serious abuse and mistreatment of the animals.”
They added: “As seen in the images, shot with his mobile phone, sows are hit multiple times with a screwdriver to make them move faster. Swollen all over their bodies, sows are dying on the concrete floor of the farm. Young sows have their teeth pulled with pincers.”
Other images show carcasses being left in bins to rot and be eaten by maggots.
Arsac, who has been campaigning for animal rights for many years, said that one worker decided to go public after filing complaints with his superiors that went unanswered.
He said that the worker became depressed and decided the information needed to be made public.
The whistleblower also filed a complaint with local law enforcement but that went unanswered too, according to Arsac.
He said: “The whistleblower lodged a complaint with the gendarmerie in February but there has been no reply so far.”
L214 has now filed a complaint with the Auxerre prosecutor’s office. Auxerre is the capital of Yonne Department.
L214 are calling for the farm to be inspected by the relevant authorities immediately and for sanctions to be issued. Their petition is available online here: https://www.l214.com/enquetes/2021/alerte-cochons-tremblats-yonne/
In the statement, Arsac said: “We commend the courage of this employee who decided to make public the serious abuse committed on the animals at the pig farm of Tremblats in Yonne Department.
“The sows and piglets in this farm are already living a miserable life, as is the case on the majority of pig farms (95 percent of pig farms are intensive).”
He is calling for sanctions against the farm and for it to be banned for killing piglets by slamming them against the ground.
The practice of castrating piglets without an anaesthetic is set to be banned as of 1st January 2022, according to L214.
The statement also details how the whistleblower allegedly never saw veterinary services inspecting the farm.
Testifying in the footage without his face being blurred, he has only been named as ‘Gregory’ by L214.
He said: “What I would like is for the person in charge to no longer work in this field, and that he close the pig farm down completely otherwise it will carry on like this.”
According to L214, the farm has been illegally cutting the tails off piglets in a systematic way, while gestating sows are also denied water and the animals are packed together too closely, all in violation of various local, national and European rules.
L214 also claim that the young sows have their teeth pulled with pincers, which is “prohibited in the decree of 16th January 2003 – annex I, paragraph 1.8”.
They also alleged that workers use cattle prods abusively in violation of “the European regulation of September 24, 2009 – Annex III, paragraph 1.9”.
The organisation said that the images also show areas “where dead pigs of all ages are stored. Some corpses are literally eaten by maggots. One of the dumpsters, from which bones can be seen emerging, is full of them.”
It is also claimed that the animals are never treated when they are injured, which would also be in violation of French law.
L214 said the Tremblats II farm is owned by a company called Provent-SDPR group based in the eastern Savoie region, adding that they operate about 100 pig farms, houses 1,800 sows, which is three times the national average.
Newsflash contacted the pig farm for comment but they had not replied at the time of writing.