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France in focus

Animal welfare: France at the bottom of the class

In France, there is no legal framework to truly protect animals. In fact, until 2015, animals had the same legal status as "moveable property" - in other words, furniture! In this edition we're taking a closer look at the issue of animal welfare in France.

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While authorities are slow to catch up with France’s European neighbours on the issue of animal rights, a number of NGOs and campaign groups have staged increasingly high-profile actions. One of them, L214, made headlines with graphic videos showing the reality of French slaughterhouses.

Also, getting up close to exotic animals has long been a popular pastime, whether in zoos or at the circus. But in recent months a spate of incidents has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons: with animals breaking away from their keepers, and ending up shot dead after high-profile pursuits. Boycott calls quickly followed, regulations have been somewhat tightened, and slowly both circuses and zoos are coming round to the idea of reviewing their use of animals as a form of entertainment.

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