Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
The veal slaughterhouse that shocked France after footage allegedly showing numerous violations emerged has announced it is suing the animal rights organisation that released it for libel.
In a statement, Sobeval said that “there was no evidence of non-conformity” and that it intended to file a complaint against the animal rights organisation L214 over claims made about the abattoir – 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.
The Sobeval statement, in response to the L214 claims being widely repeated in French media, added: “These allegations undermine the honour of Sobeval and its operators who are trained and concerned with respect for animal protection.”
The statement added that it was its top priority to “ensure the proper application of laws, regulations and good practices of our employees when it comes to slaughtering animals.”
Sobeval also indicated that it was “committed to cooperating” with the state services for an in-depth viewing of the video.
Separately, in an article by The Times published at 12:01am last night, the British newspaper stated: “The calves seen in the video have French ear tags, but sources at the abattoir confirmed that Irish calves are slaughtered there.”
It also states that: “The Sobeval slaughterhouse is located in Dordogne and is owned by the VanDrie Group, a Dutch veal giant. VanDrie is a significant buyer of Irish calves.”
The 12-minute footage provided to CEN by L214 shows blood pouring from the necks of calves as they fight for their lives with others trapped in tiny stalls at the abattoir where their meat is exported and their skins sold to the world’s top designers.
L214 also published these two videos on YouTube, one being a censored version (over 46,000 views) as well as illustrated details of their investigation, while the other is uncensored (over 115,000 views at the time of writing).
A 67-page report released at the same time 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 percent 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 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 yesterday 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 ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.