A French animal rights group on Thursday published unsettling images of cows with a plastic “porthole” surgically inserted into their sides to allow access to their stomach contents, rekindling a debate over the welfare of animals in industrial farming.
The practice has been in use for decades by researchers and the agricultural industry, though it is not widely known to the general public.
Known as cannulated or fistulated cows, the animals are fitted with a porthole-like device that can be opened, allowing direct access to the largest of their four stomachs in order to optimize and regulate nutrition.
Photo: AFP / L214
The L214 activist group published video footage it said was secretly shot between February and last month at the Sourches Experimental Farm in northwestern France.
The site belongs to Sanders, one of France’s top providers of animal feed and a subsidiary of the food research group Avril.
“They have pierced a hole into the cows’ stomach so they can regularly access its content. Employees come regularly to open the porthole to deposit food samples or take them out,” a video released by the group said.
“The aim is to perfect the most effective form of feeding so the cows produce as much milk as possible,” it said, describing the animals as little more than “milk-producing machines” that put out some 27 liters per day.
L214 said it had filed a complaint with the regional prosecutor over the “illegal experiments and the serious animal abuses” at the farm. “For Sanders and those involved in intensive livestock production, which is the norm in France, these animals are nothing more than production machines, a basic raw material at our disposal,” the video said.
Fabrice Belargent, prosecutor in the Mans region, confirmed that he had received the L214 complaint by e-mail.
Footage of the animals was widely shared on social media, prompting a sharp rebuke from Avril, which said it “deplores the manipulation of images filmed at night for the purposes of sensationalism.”
It said the procedure had been “used for many years in research on animals” and was currently being used “on six cows [at the farm] in the context of a research study designed to develop alternative practices.”
The aim is to “improve the digestive health of millions of animals, reduce the use of antibiotics, and lower the nitrate and methane emissions linked to livestock farming,” it said.
As Europe’s second-largest milk producer after Germany, France has about 3.6 million dairy cows housed at more than 61,700 dairy farms, with the industry accounting for nearly 300,000 jobs across France, official figures show.
Last year, the industry produced 23.9 billion liters of milk.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies