By Matthew Gain
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Background noise barely masks the cries of animals in the slaughterhouse. The video of the L214 association is overwhelming.
It shows pictures of the workshop of the Briécoise Slaughtering Company (SBA), to Briec near Quimper. They were shot in January and February 2021 and resulted in a complaint from L214 in May of the same year.
Electric shock in the eyes and anus
Extracts were screened on Wednesday May 18, 2022 in court. Four employees and the company were tried for severe abuse and acts of cruelty on cull sows.
In the video, staff are seen giving violent strokes to move the beasts forward. These also receive electric prod repeated, sometimes in the anus or in the eyes.
The misuse ofan electronarcosis forceps is also singled out. This tool is used to stun animals before bleeding. “It can only be used for 10 seconds on the temples or at the level of the heart”, recalled the president of the court.
Three of the four employees were present in court on Wednesday. They admitted to non-compliant behavior, but spoke of equipment that did not meet standards. At SBA, animal welfare training lasts two days. It is provided internally.
“Do not hide your face”
As a reminder, after the broadcast of the video, the slaughterhouse was the subject ofa closure by prefectural decree for three weeks. Since then, work has been done.
One of the four defendants, presented as “responsible”, was the most talkative. This big guy, his hair cut short, left the company after a conventional break-up. He changed region. “Anyway, I didn’t want to go to work there anymore. »
We have to stop hiding our faces. It was necessary to respect the rate of cutting down 110 coaches per hour. We weren’t there to string pearls.
At the helm, he confirmed “common, usual” behaviors. “We alerted management several times. We mostly did what we could. »
One of his former colleagues, also warned, dismissed, confirmed. “As soon as we made less than 100. We were told that we were zero. “And if you slaughtered more sows, you got a bonus?” asked the judge. “No, we were not paid at the rate. »
He was prosecuted for stings in the anus and in the eyes. He evacuated fairly quickly: “It’s done, it’s done. I’m not going to deny the video, but it must have been one of the few times. »
Site inspection in 2016
Then, the director of the site spoke. “This video is not a reflection of our daily activity. These were individual behaviors. She refuted any obligation of cadence. “We never set a goal. »
In 2016, the SBA was subject toan inspection. It led to the upgrading of several facilities to standard. Since 2014, SBA has been part of the group of Musketeers of the sign Intermarché.
The slaughterhouse is certified Label rouge and organic. It employs 110 employees and around forty temporary workers. Its director claims a turnover of 36.5 million euros.
“Will to hurt”
In this dossier, associations for the defense and protection of animals Stephane Lamart and L214 had joined as civil parties.
For meandHelene Thouy, the latter’s lawyer, “there was a desire to hurt the animals to force them to move forward”. She considers that the company was responsible.
Management let it happen. She did nothing to prevent the mistreatment that was daily.
His colleague, Mand Patrice Grillon, for the Stéphane Lamart association, pleaded for “respect for animal rights”. He also underlined the “failure” of State services in terms of control.
The prosecutor Dominique Tailhardat drove the point home in its requisitions. “The video, unbearable, sometimes shows vice in certain gestures. They were well intentioned, voluntary. He retains the notion of “hellish pace”, but “it does not in any way justify the mistreatment of which everyone was aware in the company”.
His requisitions were from 6 to 8 months suspended prison sentence for each employee, and a fine of 500 euros. For the company, he asked a fine of 10,000 euros.
Who is responsible ?
In defence, the lawyers of the three employees sought to defer responsibility for the offenses to the company. Respect for “infernal cadences”. They thus pleaded the absence of intention to cause harm.
Mand Jean-Christophe Andre, SBA’s lawyer, considered for his part that the video is “a montage, a concentrate shot under unknown conditions. It shows a partial or even biased reality. For him, the mistreatment cannot be blamed on the company. He finished on the cadences:
They are communicated to the State services. If they don’t, say so. Are they breaking the law or not? No.
He pleaded for release.
Judgment has been reserved for June 27, 2022, at 1:30 p.m.
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