Facing Sébastien Arsac were the managers of three dairy farms and the director of the Ouest Elevage company with which they worked. Although the hearing made it possible to accurately examine the facts on which the various parties were judged, it raised above all questions about animal welfare on intensive farms.
The prosecutor remembered this well during her indictment, it was difficult to judge this case in order not to evoke the social debate on animal welfare in a broad sense. And this is precisely the role that the association L214 raising the problems generated by intensive agriculture to change mindsets and the law.
In addition, it was following an action by the association that the case began in October 2019. L214 then broadcast videos that showed the practices of industrial rearing of dairy calves, on three farms in Finistère and at the dairy calves sorting center in Ouest Élevage, a subsidiary of Laïta (Even group), located in the city of Ploudaniel.
In the images we could see boxes where the calves were in poor condition.acts of violence in some calves, and sometimes precarious conditions of detention.
An intensive system called into question
Yesterday, the managers of the farms incriminated by the videos came forward to contest and qualify the facts they were accused of based on these L214 videos. But they also took turns explaining their working conditions. And it was possible to perceive through their testimonies, that they themselves were victims of an intensive agricultural system, where the logic of profitability and production costs restrict high performance breeders.
Some accused operators even converted, explaining “be disgusted by the lynching of the media” they suffered as a result of these videos. L214 representatives also explained that they denounced the methods of a system more than the farm managers themselves. Wholesaler Ouest Elevage, through its president and one of its employees, also appeared at the bar to respond to accusations of arbitrary euthanasia and animal abuse that allegedly took place in the company’s sorting center in Ploudaniel.
His hearing revealed that there were deficiencies in the training of breeders in animal welfare and that the logic of economic viability could lead to these abuses.
Evidence obtained illegally
Sébastien Arsac, director of investigations at the animal protection association, had to explain the process used to record these videos. Sued for home invasion and invasion of privacy, the co-founder of L214 denied having entered the creators’ premises, explaining that he was limited to accompanying whistleblowers to the premises to guarantee the authenticity of the recorded videos.
This is not the first time Sébastien Arsac has appeared in court, as he has already been accused of similar facts. The prosecutor asked €50,000 fine against Ouest Elevage groupand penalties ranging from Fine from €2,000 to €20,000 for other creators. Sébastien Arsac incurs a €3,000 fine and L214, €10,000.
Judgment has been reserved and the verdict in this case will be handed down. next June 3rd.
The sorting center for Ouest Elevage, a subsidiary of the Laïta dairy, is located in Lesgall, in the town of Ploudaniel in Finistère.
The farms, under an integration contract with Ouest Élevage, are located, respectively, in the municipalities of Poullaouen, Plougourvest and Saint-Vougay, all three located in Finistère.