Another horse found killed with ear removed in east France

The 18-month-old foal was found dead and mutilated in the latest in a series of deadly attacks on horses and donkeys in France.

Published Last updated

The young horse was found dead in its enclosure on the morning of August 8, by Jean-Michel Martinot, who runs the riding school that owned the foal.

Virginie Martinot, Mr Martinot’s wife and co-owner of the school, told news source Franceinfo: “On Saturday night my husband checked the field. There were seven 18-month-old foals. The next day he discovered the foal, killed in the field.

Mrs Martinot described the killing as “barbaric”. She said: “[The horse] was stabbed in the heart. She had an ear cut off. [The killers] had removed an eye and her genitals.” Lacerations on the young horse’s neck made it appear she had been initially captured by lasso.

She added: “When you raise horses you sometimes lose an animal, as do all breeders. But not like this…We are devastated.”

Investigations into animal killings in France ongoing

Mr and Mrs Martinot have filed a complaint with local police in Cluny (Saône-et-Loire, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté), but investigations are expected to be difficult. Their field is in an isolated area with no security cameras.

The investigation will also be monitored by the national police force.

The removal of an ear is a common thread that has linked several killings and mutilations of horses, donkeys and ponies in France. Around ten such deaths have been recorded so far in 2020.

Departments including Somme, Aisne (Hauts-de-France), Puy-de-Dôme, Loire (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), Vendée (Pays de la Loire), Moselle (Grand Est), and Lot (Occitanie) have been affected.

There are also records of similar killings in Europe, starting in 2016 in Belgium.

Horse owners advised to be vigilant

In social media post, which contains a photo of the dead animal, the Mr and Mrs Martinot have called on others to share their story in order to raise awareness among other horse and donkey owners in France and help catch the killers.

A Facebook group Recensement des agressions d'équidés en France (Census of equine attacks in France) has also been set up to track attacks and raise awareness.

Union Jeunes Agriculteurs has urged horse and donkey owners in France to be vigilant. However, Mrs Matrinot pointed out, the attackers “always work at night. We have 120 hectares, and we go around it often. We couldn’t avoid this".

Acts of animal cruelty in France are punishable by two years in prison and a fine of €30,000.

Related stories

France needs minister for animal welfare, say rights groups

French business leaders support new animal welfare campaign