What are the legal consequences of animal abuse in France

Lately in our generation have increased the protective laws for animals, people have acquired a little more awareness on this subject,
Thanks to the fact that many influential people have shown their support towards foundations against animal abuse, which has caused that many people show their support as well, and to change their way of seeing animals, however there are still hundreds of industries in where animals are still one of the main items to manufacture their products.

France have a large number of animal charities, and laws that punish animal abuse, however, it is not a secret that a large number of animal skins are used in haute couture to make clothes and other parts of them, are used in the manufacture of jewelry and perfumes. the tests on animals for the purposes of cosmetics are illegal throughout Europe although France tried to fight this ruling as it is home to some of the world’s biggest cosmetics companies. Testing is permitted for medical research only and there are a number of regulations that testing companies must follow such as limiting the number of tests and monitoring carefully the health of the animal being used. France has one of the oldest animal protection foundations known as “Société Protectrice des Animaux” founded in 1845, this has a lot of place where they host homeless animals, they offer veterinary services for abandoned animals, and for those who are established in a home, but do not have the necessary resources to attend a veterinary consultation, much of this is done by volunteers who belong to the foundation. This foundation has been responsible for fighting all these years for the welfare of animals, was one of the fundamental organizations in the change that made the French parliament, when they decided to accept that animals were sentient beings, recognized worldwide, has worked together with other large foundations to not only reduce animal abuse in France, but also worldwide.

Domestic animals, such as cats and dogs, are under the protection of European laws, where they are declared as sentient beings, which is why France was one of the first countries to implement laws against animal abuse in the penal code, there is established that no one is allowed to cause any harm or pain to the animals if this is not necessary for their life, neither is allowed to leave an animal in the streets or leave it in a public place such as parks or Malls. French laws also cover the protection of animals that are not considered domestic and live in places outside the city, for this a council was established that is dedicated to the supervision of these animals, the development of their life on farms, due Because many of these animals are consumed as protein by a large number of people living in France and throughout Europe, it is difficult to know when a direct mistreatment is considered, however, this council prohibits cages with electricity for the raising of chickens, the feeding of the cows, and the techniques that must be used for their sacrifice are also monitored in detail, to avoid any mistreatment towards the farm animals.

Focusing on the legal environment, even though France was one of the first countries to establish laws against animal abuse in their penal code, it was not known as a serious crime, until in 2014 where the seriousness of the events was established together with the laws of the European Union, involving the country’s police. The ministry in charge of animal protection in this country is Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, which is responsible for creating campaigns to raise awareness and condemn those who in some way mistreat the animals. But where are the wild animals? France is home to several endangered species including the brown bear that resides in the Pyrenees, wolves and other species of wild animals live in this country, the exclusion of wild animals from basic anti-cruelty laws and from classification as sentient animals presents an area where animal protection has yet to become a mainstream concern in France. According to the latest scientific knowledge at least all vertebrate animals are demonstrably sentient, and it is recommended that French law should acknowledge this fact. This would also be consistent with the requirements of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. although conservation measures are in place for mutilation, destruction, capture and poaching of endangered or protected species (the Environment Code, and Ministerial Orders listing protected species).

The limiting of the anti-cruelty legislation to domestic, captive and tamed species means that there are no basic criminal sanctions for cruelty and abuse applicable to wild animals. Maritime animals are also included in the protection laws, allowing fishing in places where there is knowledge of the presence of large quantities of fish for food consumption, but in turn punishing the removal of animals outside their natural habitat, for example, turtles, starfish, etc. In France it is very common the aquariums where they exhibit marine animals such as killer whales and dolphins, although these are in a place that resembles their natural habitat, it has been shown that animals develop diseases associated with stress, Although aquariums must be subject to supervision to verify if they comply with the medical regulations of animals, in recent years has increased the death of these animals in aquariums, considered a type of cruelty to animals

The exceptions in the penal code of France, are one of the things that have caused the most controversy since they were established, since in these some types of animal abuse are allowed, based on the fact of being part of the culture of some people, eexemptions in the Penal Code that permit cockfighting and bullfighting in areas where an uninterrupted tradition for them exists, and the cultural practices that underpin this, are barriers to improving animal welfare.

The places where animals are kept for the entertainment of people have also been an object to be eradicated for all foundations that want the freedom and good treatment of both domestic and wild animals, circuses and zoos despite having been a large number of petitions to prohibit them, are still legal in the country, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry together with the minister of ecology reached an agreement, Zoos are required to have two licenses, an operation licence for the establishment and a certificate of competence held by at least one full-time employee. The basis for the granting of licenses is the ability of the applicants to comply with the legal requirements and to provide appropriate animal care.

What should be done in the mistreatment of an animal? A few years ago, a video was made viral in which the abuse towards a cat was evident, the people were in charge of denouncing the author of this fact and he was sentenced to one year in prison, the social networks play a very important role in these issues, since many times the owners of the animals themselves are the abusers. If you are aware or have witnessed a case of animal abuse in France you can call the local police directly, so that they can take charge of the situation, there is also the possibility of contacting a nearby shelter, the authorities should initiate an investigation as any other case in which some type of abuse is involved, after this they must report to the public prosecutor, who will decide the sentence of the person, if it seems that the fact you reported was not completely investigated, you can communicate directly with the ministry in charge of animal abuse. The penalty for the most serious cruelty issues, including abandonment of animals, is up to two years’ imprisonment and/or up to a €30,000 fine (There are five other classes of offences of which class 1 is the least serious and class 5 the most serious. The penalties for some classes of offence are so low that they are unlikely to act as a significant deterrent and/or as an impetus for police and prosecutors to take action. A class 1 offence, for example, currently has a penalty of a €38 fine, a class 2 offence a fine of €150, and a class 5 offence a fine of €1,500

Departmental Veterinary Services have authority to intervene directly on the ground in situations involving abuse of animals. They may directly, or together with the gendarmerie and the police, take appropriate action which demonstrates how seriously the French legal system takes such crimes. Administrative police measures are also available to town mayors to intervene in in certain cases. Inspections to monitor animal welfare are carried by officers of health and animal welfare of the Departmental Veterinary Services checking, for example, on care provided to animals and the conditions in which animals are kept.Despite being a condemnation of moderate intensity, many organizations have joined the last months to ask the French government to increase the sentence, because many times the mistreatment of animals is so strong that the sentence becomes short, The ministry has pronounced alleging that thanks to the stipulated sentence has been considerably diminished animal abuse in the country. However, in an investigation carried out by a group of people belonging to a foundation against animal abuse, there is still a high incidence in the use of animals for testing There is still a high incidence in the use of animals for the testing and production of cosmetics, fashion houses even make illegal use of the fur of certain animals.French gastronomy has been strongly criticized by animal advocates, because one of the most emblematic dishes of the country is made with a bird that has a certain breeding mode to be consumed, World organizations have shown their support in the elimination of this dish as the main representative gastronomic component of France, however, has not shown signs of wanting to reduce consumption. Among measures of awareness that has taken the government of France to prevent animal abuse, has been to put cameras on the streets to observe the treatment of people with animals, specifically domestic, have also implemented teams of police who are responsible for observing how people treat animals on the streets. They have created campaigns with the organizations to educate people on the topic, more than 1,000 shelters have been benefited with the help of the government to help the rescue of animals that are on the streets.

Despite the effort that the authorities have made, the foundations are not satisfied, because there are still many things that the government should consider as animal abuse and should penalize, as it is the bullfights, that despite being a cultural activity represents an act of mistreatment and cruelty to animals, this tradition is carried out in a large part of Europe, which is why there is a greater need to end it, European authorities continue to indicate that cultural activities must be maintained, because they show the roots of the countries. There are some cities in the continent that have already been banned or even penalized bullfighting, however, this measure has not been implemented at the level of the whole continent, protests from the foundations have become increasingly common in France, People who attend to demand that they take into account and eradicate bullfighting and cockfighting are increasingly.

In conclusion it can be said that animal abuse in France is evident, despite being one of the first countries to make laws against animal abuse, there are many social and cultural factors that make many people continue to commit some type of abuse against the animals, in spite of everything, the foundations against the cruelty and animal abuse in French are the best consolidated worldwide, working as an example for other countries. These foundations have achieved a remarkable change in their country, which provide the hope that step by step will end the different forms of animal abuse that are carried out in France and around the world.