No surprises as French senators distort anti animal mistreatment law
1 October 2021
After a marathon day finalising the adoption of the ambitious law aiming to reduce pet abandonments and end the use of wild animals in shows, the French Senate significantly weakened the text.
Where the Senate weakens the text adopted by the National Assembly in January:
- Ban on the sale of animals in pet shops from 2024: the senators are opposed to it, they propose instead to stop displaying the animals in shop windows and to introduce a seven-day reflection period between the purchase and the collection of the animal.
- Obligation to sterilise stray cats (responsibility of the mayor) in the interests of animal protection, public health and defence of biodiversity measure: the senators cancelled this provision.
- Ban on the use of wild animals in traveling circuses (5 years after the law was enacted) as well as on bear and wolf “shows”. The Senate reverses these bans and puts the ball back in the government’s court, which will have to issue decrees specifying the target species. The ban would not be set by law but at the discretion of the minister and after the opinion of a commission, which is yet to be established but already seems highly convoluted.
- Ban on holding cetaceans in captivity (7 years for dolphins, 2 years for orcas), the Senate is opposed to this measure.
Concurrence between the two chambers:
- Ban on carousels and pony rides at fairs: the Senate maintains the ban.
- Reinforcement of penalties for acts of cruelty: the penalty of two years' imprisonment and a fine of € 30,000 is replaced by a penalty of three years' imprisonment and a € 45,000 fine (5 years and a € 75,000 fine in the case of acts leading to the death of the animal), the Senate maintains the measure.
The main advances adopted by the senators:
- The Senate introduced a VAT exemption on veterinary procedures for animals taken in by associations, regardless of whether they have a shelter.
- Ban on mink farms and other animals raised specifically for their fur: the Senate adopts an immediate ban, as opposed to the National Assembly’s adopted ban “within two years”.
We cannot be satisfied with this vote which betrays both the spirit of the text adopted by the National Assembly, and the commitments made by Barbara Pompili. The joint committee will have to restore the ambition of the initial proposal so that France can finally catch up with the other EU Member States. This bill is the most ambitious one ever debated in Parliament on animal protection. An exceptional opportunity that must not be missed, especially as this subject, supported by a majority of French citizens, will be at stake in the next elections.Christophe Marie, spokesperson for the Brigitte Bardot Foundation
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