Organic Certified French Abattoir Closed After Undercover Video Shows Animal Cruelty

Footage appears to show sheep being thrown against barriers and workers Tasering livestock at organic slaughterhouse

A French abattoir certified as organic has been closed pending an investigation after an animal rights group released a video purportedly showing the abuse of livestock.

L214 published the four-minute video on its website, claiming to have secretly filmed it at the slaughterhouse in Le Vigan in the southern Gard region.

Scenes include employees Tasering livestock, hurling sheep against barriers, hanging pigs by one leg, and pulling a cow by one horn. Many cattle and pigs, normally stunned to death before their throats are slit, can be seen still moving as they are being bled.

The agency that manages the abattoir said the facility was closed until further notice and staff had been suspended. It added that an internal investigation would be conducted.

The agriculture minister, Stéphane Le Foll, denounced the abbatoir’s “intolerable practices”, saying staff would be “punished, as they should be”. He said veterinary investigators would work with local prosecutors on the case.

The animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot weighed in on the affair, saying Le Foll “should be ashamed” for his inaction over livestock abuse. The former film star also denounced the “sadism of perverted unsupervised employees, a scandalous, unacceptable cruelty that makes you throw up”.

Bardot recalled that she had demanded surveillance cameras be installed in abattoirs nationwide after a similar video in October was published by L214, whose group’s name refers to a 1976 clause establishing that animals are sentient beings.

The Le Vigan slaughterhouse processes 300-350 tonnes of meat a year from about 100 farmers in the region.

The French pop singer Nili Hadida says in the video: “Even in an abattoir that emphasises organic and local production, the animals suffer as they die.”