France

Animal welfare: MPs again attack whistleblowers


An amendment adopted by the Finance Committee wants to remove the tax reduction granted to donations made to associations. An – umpteenth – attempt to silence whistleblowers who act in favor of animal welfare. 30millionsdamis.fr takes stock of this text, which in particular affects animal protection NGOs.

Gag the messenger, or hear his message? With regard to farm animals, the majority of the members of the Finance Commission of the National Assembly seem to have made their choice. Seized of a first examination of the finance bill for 2023 (which provides for the State budget for the year), it adopted an amendment which attacks head-on whistleblowers who denounce the conditions of raising and slaughtering animals.

Corset NGOs by cutting off their food

The state itself uses these videos to justify the sanctions.

L. Dombreval – Former LREM MP

Filed by MP Marc le Fur (LR), this addition to the finance law aims to remove the tax reduction (66%) provided for donations made to certain associations. Specifically, to “associations whose members are found guilty of acts of intrusion on private agricultural property and industrial establishments or acts of violence against professionals”. In terms of animal welfare, it should be remembered that these infiltrations nevertheless made it possible to capture and disseminate images retracing breaches of the regulations. Videos that the 30 million friends Foundation has widely relayed, and which have undoubtedly made it possible to advance the debate concerning intensive farming in particular.

The declared will of the parliamentarians behind the measure is indeed to ”cut off supplies” to the NGOs in the crosshairs of certain politicians; because this tax reduction system is an essential element for these associations to obtain donations, and therefore to finance themselves. Especially for those who do not receive direct public subsidies. Rightly, the former deputy Loïc Dombreval, at the initiative of the law of 2021 aiming to fight against animal abuse, recalls that this tax niche is “a disguised aid from the State to the actions of the associations in question”. Depriving them of this boost will undeniably hurt them, especially in the current context where the charitable sector is facing a drop in giving, due to multiple crises which are eroding donor finances.

Animal welfare: the essential role of whistleblowers

By attacking the finances of the NGOs concerned, the amendment actually seeks to silence whistleblowers. An aberration, and a denial of democracy. Without their revelations, with supporting videos, it would have been impossible, for example, to denounce the unjustifiable conditions that prevailed in certain slaughterhouses and farms. ” The State itself uses these videos to justify the decrees sanctioning the establishments whose faults could only be established by infiltrations or clandestine images. “, even underlines L. Dombreval (LREM)… Of course, it is normally up to the State services to control and sanction these excesses. But – by the admission of the Court of Auditors – the numbers are falling, while the workload is stable, even increasing. They would therefore not be in a position to carry out their missions correctly, to the detriment of the animals (2019 government annual report, read page 27). An observation shared by the former deputy of the 2nd constituency of the Alpes-Maritimes, who was confronted with it during his mandate: ” As long as we have not hired the people necessary for the exercise by the State of its missions, there will be clandestine images or intrusions “says the veterinarian. CQFD!

The faults could only be established by infiltrations or clandestine images.

L. Dombreval – Former LREM MP

The Government challenged by animal protection NGOs

Before being voted on, this text will nevertheless have to go through a few stages. Because it is for the moment only a parliamentary amendment adopted in Committee. However, it must also be adopted by the whole of the Assembly (in “plenary session”). For this, the Government will have to agree, or the majority. However, the Government was not present during the adoption of the amendment in Committee. It was voted by elected LR, RN, and some elected from the majority (Renaissance and UDI). Deputy Marc le Fur has long sought to impose this type of text, which has always been rejected. Alongside other animal protection NGOs, the 30 Million Friends Foundation asked the Prime Minister and the Government ” to take an official position against this amendment, which seeks to deprive certain actors essential to democratic debate of their ability to act as whistleblowers “.

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