Upwards of 12,000 animal cruelty offences were recorded last year in France, but many more go unreported. Now the French government wants to make it easier for witnesses to share what they’ve seen with a new and dedicated website.
Animal protection in France is nothing new. The country imposed its first laws on the matter in 1850, but they were limited at the time to public displays. By 1959, France had expanded these laws to include protections for any domestic or captive animal.
Despite this, the French national police and gendarmerie recorded upwards of 12,000 offenses targeting pets or farm animals in 2021, with 42% of the acts involving serious abuse and acts of cruelty. These malicious incidents have increased by 30% since 2016.
To make the job of the authorities easier, and to catch more people who engage in this crime, the Ministry of the Interior has set up a website that allows people to report “sudden acts of violence or prolonged deprivation of care to which an animal may be the victim”.
People who use the website will be asked certain set questions, notably on the condition of the animal, as well as to describe in detail the specifics around the suspected abuse. If there is imminent danger to the animal, the public is asked to call 17 directly and immediately to report it to police.
WHAT IS ABUSE?
Some of the acts that constitute ill-treatment or abuse include depriving an animal of food or water, not providing care to a sick or wounded animal, keeping an animal in an unsafe environment, and using restraining devices such as electric or barbed fencing or shock devices that inflict pain unless absolutely necessary.
Anyone convicted of mistreatment faces fines ranging from €750 to €45,000. The most serious infractions, such as committing cruel acts in front of minors or willful abandonment that will lead to certain death, can involve a three-year jail sentence.
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Photo source: Vijesh Datt, Unsplash