Map: More horse attacks in France, see areas targeted
More horses have been mutilated in France in the latest of a series of gruesome attacks that police are continuing to investigate across the country.
The newest cases have been reported in Allier (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), Finistère (Brittany) and Calvados (Normandy).
One animal was found in a field in Droiturier (Allier) on Saturday August 29, with a 20-centimetre slash wound in its side. It was found alive and received vet attention to save its life.
Two horses were found mutilated in the south of Finistère, overnight on August 27, and more injuries were reported from a riding school in Deauville.
Another case was reported from the Vaucluse, where a mare was found “disembowelled” during the night of August 22, while another pony was found with a lacerated ear.
Serge Lecomte, president of riding group la Fédération Française d’Equitation, said: “This is an act of savagery the likes of which we have rarely seen before.”
No line of enquiry ruled out amid ‘professionalism’ of attacks
More and more cases have been reported in recent months, with police baffled as to the perpetrators and motivation for the gruesome crimes - with some suggesting it may be the work of a cult or “satanic group”.
Attacks have been reported from across the country, with some horses being killed and others simply left severely injured.
Key: Green - attacks where the horse owners chased after suspects; Orange - Attacks, but the horses survived; Red - attacks that killed the horses.
And while attacks have so far been centred in France, similar incidents have also been reported recently in Germany, Belgium and the UK.
Minister for agriculture Julien Denomandie recently visited an affected stableyard, and promised that he would “mobilise all services to ensure justice is done”. He said that no lead or line of enquiry had “been excluded”, and did not rule out suggestions of cult-related behaviour.
He confirmed that the injuries appeared to have been inflicted by people with some knowledge of horse anatomy.
He said: “There is clearly some kind of professionalism...people who are working with a certain technical ability.” He referred particularly to one case in which a pony was drained of its blood, without “any trace” of the blood being found in the field in which the animal was later found dead.
The new cases come as police work to identify possible causes or perpetrators of the attacks.
On August 27, police in Yonne (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté) shared the identikit image of one of the suspected horse attackers, after working with a local horse owner who chased away attackers who came to his animal refuge in the night and stabbed two of his horses.
Christophe Plourin, from the Yonne police department, told news source FranceInfo that horse owners who discover attacks should “absolutely avoid modifying crime scenes so that we can gather as much information as possible”.