Animal welfare, breeding, ritual slaughter: what do presidential candidates think?

The fight for animal welfare is included in all programs. From surveillance to the end of industrial livestock farming and the ban on ritual slaughter, EURACTIV noted convergences and divergences between candidates for the second round of elections.

It is a critical issue in society, particularly as health scandals and revelations of animal abuse stain the industry.

According to a recent IFOP survey for the NGO CIWF France, 84% of French people believe that ” cage creation is one of the worst practices in intensive agriculture, and it should be stopped “. An issue that transcends political divisions: 79% of French people who intend to vote for Eric Zemmour adhere to these changes, 93% for supporters of Yannick Jadot.

However, from one candidate to another, the political translation of this general aspiration varies and reveals certain divisions.

Exit industrial livestock

Candidates Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI) and Yannick Jadot (EELV) are the only ones who want to get out of factory farming.

Terrestrial or marine animals live a martyrdom that our humanity forces us to put an end to. “, observes Jean-Luc Mélenchon in his program. He therefore intends to forbid these ” industrial farms “, for reasons of combating the mistreatment of animals, but also to limit the development of zoonoses, diseases favored by promiscuity.

He promises to avoid immediately » the installation, expansion or consolidation of farms, especially those with more than 150 sows or dairy cows. It also attacks the mutilations and cruelest practices such as beak trimming, pig teeth grinding, calf dehorning, pig castration, etc.

Its timetable is clear: an exit from intensive agriculture for “2027 at the latest “, in addition to an exit from cage breeding by 2025. The candidate adds the obligation of any new operation to give animals the possibility of access to the outdoors on a daily basis.

In this field, environmentalist candidate Yannick Jadot has no other ambitions. They give themselves 10 years to replace industrial agriculture with agroecological agriculture and to ban the creation of cages. The two candidates also agree on banning the export of live animals outside the EU and limiting the time for transporting live animals to eight hours.

For Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Yannick Jadot, these changes are part of a desire to reduce the consumption of animal proteins. Nothing like the other candidates, although Valérie Pécresse (LR) insists on the development of vegetarian meals in the collective catering, which she has defended in recent years at the head of the Ile-de-France region.

Strengthening controls on farms

On the right of the political spectrum, candidates declare their commitment to improving the living conditions of animals. Without leaving factory farming, they still want to strengthen controls to ensure that existing standards are enforced.

On the side of the outgoing President, it must continue to maintain its “pact for biosecurity and animal welfare” included in the post-Covid recovery plan “France Glance” in 2020. The roadmap contains aid dedicated to modernization of slaughterhouses to better protect animals and train professionals in animal protection.

The associations were delighted in 2017, during Emmanuel Macron’s campaign, by his desire to ban the sale of eggs from battery-raised hens. What had to be done… until 2022. If great progress has been made in recent years, 36% of chickens were still kept in cages in 2020. Animal rights associations, however, credit the current president with the decree of 15 February last concerning the interruption of the slaughter of male chicks at birth.

Among the other candidates, Eric Zemmour included in his program the desire to strengthen controls on farms, and Valérie Pécresse said during an interview on France 3 on December 12: “I them [l’association L214 qui demandait à la candidate des éclaircissements sur le sujet] I said I was ready to commit to real control, especially in slaughterhouses… to check that animal welfare is respected. But here again, there are many patterns…”

As for Marine Le Pen, she has made animal welfare a cardinal point of her program. She claims that ” the State undertakes to improve the safety and working conditions of workers, to increase the number of local slaughterhouses and mobile units, ensuring compliance with animal welfare standards “.

End of slaughter without stunning

The killing of farm animals is a highly sensitive subject. Emmanuel Macron presented his slaughterhouse plan in the summer of 2021, which aims to strengthen controls and, if necessary, sanctions,” massively supporting and investing in slaughterhouses” . More specifically, the plan provides for the creation of a ” national intervention force with general controls as well as the development of video protection”.

For Jean-Luc Mélenchon, it is also necessary to strengthen the controls, to the point of making the video mandatory or even ” prohibit the slaughter of females beyond 40% of their gestation “.

Aside from the controls, everyone agrees that killing without stunning or ritual killing is problematic. To put an end to this, Valérie Pécresse privileges the ” Query » with representatives of the cults to « find a deal “.” I think that if this issue were easy to resolve, it would have been resolved a long time ago. “The candidate in the Élysée 2022 program responded on March 24.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Yannick Jadot and Marine Le Pen – for whom “ no government so far has had the courage to address this issue – undertake to prohibit this type of slaughter without stunning. The first two specify that they will do so in terms of discussions with religious authorities. Valérie Pécresse, Marine Le Pen or Yannick Jadot propose to generalize reversible stunning, a method that does not kill the animal, but makes it momentarily insensitive to pain. Method fully compatible with religious rites (kosher and halal).

Eric Zemmour and Jean-Luc Mélenchon add the traceability of slaughter, labeling the products specifying, among other things, the method of slaughter.

And fishing?

The proposals on fishing respond to the same philosophical and political logics of creation. If Yannick Jadot and Jean-Luc Mélenchon intend to develop fishing techniques ” non-destructive “, selective (line fishing, pots) to protect resources and limit ecological damage, Eric Zemmour insists in his program on the desire to obtain European quotas more favorable to France. The Reconquête candidate also wants to increase livestock park concessions and develop ” innovative aquaculture”.

The two leftmost candidates want to finally fight illegal fishing, poaching and preserve ecosystems. Jean-Luc Mélenchon intends to protect at least 30% of the French maritime territory, mainly in integral reserves, in order to restore resources and biodiversity. For his part, Yannick Jadot wants to protect territorial waters, in particular Chinese fishing vessels ” that do not hesitate to plunder the resource and contribute to the disappearance of large predators such as sharks “.

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