December 16, 2021 at 4:34 pm,
Updated December 18, 2021 at 10:36 am
Reading time: 4 minutes
The images are almost unbearable. In a dingy building, deprived of all natural light, sickly-looking chickens are dying. Your croup is emaciated ; their long, featherless necks ; their bodies, rickety. Some cohabit in small cages with the decomposing corpses of their peers. Employees step on them, beat them with a stick, pack them in boxes before leaving for the slaughterhouse. Some send them kicking them to the ceiling while laughing, like kicking a soccer ball.
These images, taken by the association L214 in August and September 2021 on an intensive farm owned by the Pampr’œuf group and revealed on Thursday, December 16, could never have existed. During the 2017 presidential campaign, Emmanuel Macron pledged to ban the sale of eggs from battery-raised hens by 2022. “ Battery farming of laying hens, misunderstood by a growing number of French people, will have to gradually disappear in favor of alternative farms. », promised the candidate.
A few days before that deadline, it is clear that nothing has been done to end this breeding system. Worse still, a decree published on Tuesday, December 14th, stipulates that existing farms can always be renovated and therefore continue to function, as long as the number of laying hens that can be raised there remains the same.
This cultivation method is already banned in Switzerland, Luxembourg and Austria.
I’NGO CIWFengaged in the fight against intensive livestock, denounces yet another setback against the mistreatment of these animals. “ In 2018, the Égalim law [avait] seen almost all the amendments aimed at banning [l’élevage en cage] swept », she recalls in a press release. The government only withheld amendments proposing to prohibit the construction or upgrading of buildings dedicated to the creation of chickens in cages, and not its pure and simple end.
According to’NGOthis “ status quo stubbornness » about laying hens in cages would go against the grain of history. In Europe, this breeding method is already banned in Switzerland, Luxembourg and Austria. Germany and the Czech Republic have pledged to ban it by 2025 and 2027. In June, the European Commission declared itself in favor of establishing regulations by 2023 to phase it out gradually. The ban on these practices seems to be unanimous in France itself: according to a survey carried out by Ifop in 2021, 81 % of French people would be in favor of putting an end to laying hens in cages.
Hundreds of thousands of birds survive in poor conditions across France
If these practices have diminished since the election of Emmanuel Macron, they still remain prevalent. In 2020, according to data from Egg Interprofession (CNPO), caged chickens still accounted for 36 % of French production (compared to 47 % in 2019). This is the most common breeding method in the territory. 17 million chickens live in batteries today, according to the CIWF.
A figure that makes you dizzy, when you think about the mistreatment these animals can be exposed to. The images recently revealed by L214 are not anecdotal. The company that manages the establishment where this violence was observed represents about 20 % of national production of eggs sold in shell. Three other L214 investigations document the precarious conditions in which hundreds of thousands of other birds survive across France.
The recent detection of avian influenza cases could further worsen the living conditions of these birds. Since the passage, in November, of France in “ high risk » contamination with avian influenza, no farm birds are allowed to go out. So it is likely to be a long time before all chickens in France can peck in the open. when pigs fly ?