Thursday 17 June 2021 | 13

One Voice joins the coalition for a more ambitious law on whistleblowers

One Voice joins the coalition for a more ambitious law on whistleblowers

Mis à jour le 07 August 2021

The European Directive on whistleblowers is going to be transposed into French law. We have joined a coalition of around 30 organisations, associations and unions calling for an even more ambitious law, that gives more protection to whistleblowers, who stand up for ethics and the common good!

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Whistleblowers respond to an ethical imperative. As for animals, law and regulation offer them little protection, in spite of some symbolic advances in recent years and scientific research which constantly extends our knowledge of their intelligence, awareness and behaviour.

Animals really need whistleblowers!

There are multiple exceptions to the legislation, based on the ways that animals are used. Cats and dogs can be tortured in laboratories, although there are penalties for mistreatment when they are used as pets. Dogs used for hunting are seen as mere tools. Horses live different sorts of lives (some are used in racing, others in riding schools, or for trekking, bull-fighting, circuses or equine therapy). But almost all of them end up in an abattoir. When cats stray, they are no longer loved and cherished: they end up as a problem for the local authority to manage.

Wild animals in France are almost all hunted or trapped, considered to be a nuisance, even if the names change. Elephants and tigers, imported from abroad, are tamed and taken from town to town, exhibited in circus tents, their needs neglected. They end their lives in trucks. Mink and angora rabbits in captivity are victims of completely unnatural living conditions. Monkeys are transported from one end of the earth to the other, ending up on laboratory benches. Bulls are bred to end their lives with a dagger between their horns, bleeding to death in a bullring.

In each of these cases, humans are using animals and ruling their lives. This is also true when they are free in the wild. The natural world is also being devastated. Animal habitats are in constant decline as a result of intensive agriculture and the spread of urbanisation throughout the world.

Whistleblowers: a key link in the chain to improve conditions for animals in France

As in all areas of our society, the law should apply. However, in our view the existing laws fall short of what is needed. Worse, they are not even respected, and compliance even with the letter of the law is not checked.

That is why One Voice relies on many whistleblowers. They alert us to problems where they work, in their neighbourhood, in places where no one can know what is happening as the crimes are concealed. Or they send us documents which, if we publish them, could be the subject of action by the police. When our investigators are following a lead, and need to remain under cover, it is then One Voice which becomes the whistleblower.

These three aspects in particular of our work with and as whistleblowers would be protected if the proposals we are calling for are adopted.

A law which could go even further...

In December 2021 the European Union adopted a directive to protect whistleblowers, which has to be adapted and transposed into French law by December 2021. With the Maison des Lanceurs d’Alerte and the coalition of some 30 organisations we are calling on the French parliament to go further, so that whistleblowers are even better protected.

particularly as, in France, defenders of animal rights are under surveillance

Defenders of animal rights are currently the target of a unit of gendarmes known as Demeter. This is contrary to the essential role of whistleblowers, who are responding to an ethical imperative, working for truth and transparency - for the common good. Ecology is not just about sorting waste or creating cycle paths: it covers the whole ecosystem, including animals. Our behaviour to animals is critical.

Proposals for going further

Recent whistleblowers have alerted us to Dumba, to the orcas and dolphins in Marineland, and to the American beagles which endure endless experiments in France. We need to be able to protect these whistleblowers, just as journalists can protect their sources.

We were able to see confidential information about the long-tailed macaques sent from Vietnam and Mauritius to Silabe in France and elsewhere in Europe. If we were to receive sensitive information, we could not publish it without risking legal action. We are calling for immunity from criminal prosecution for this. The public has a right to know how their taxes are being used.

Finally, we are proud that One Voice itself has been a whistleblower on many occasions:
On the conditions in which the bears, Micha, Bony and Glasha, and many other animals were held by the Poliakovs. Or when our investigators had to spend night after night on a roof over ten metres high, leading to the most important seizure of tigers in France, and Europe more widely, for at least ten years.
On minks: we have constantly rung the alarm on the dangers of pollution from mink farms, the suffering of the animals themselves and, in recent months, the health risks linked to COVID-19.
For the orcas of Marineland Antibes, at risk of being sent to China.
On the danger represented by individuals who are violent towards animals. We repeatedly point out that knowledge of this should be used as a means to prevent domestic violence (this phenomenon, known as the Link, was identified by a member of our team). On the horrors perpetrated by practitioners of penned hunting, those who dig out fox earths or badger setts, those who hunt with hounds, or indeed by any hunters.
On the danger of showing performances involving captive animals to children, making them watch or take part in bullfights or hunting, so preventing them from developing empathy and hindering their ability as adults to protect animals and vulnerable beings in general.
On all these issues, we too should be heard and protected.

A full list of the coalition’s proposals is available on a website specially created by the Maison des Lanceurs d’Alerte. Support them now, sign our petition !

Translated from the French by Jo Durning

Julia Mothé
Hr blog

In the subject

Finance bill: One Voice is stepping up to the plate to defend their right to inform on cruelty to animals Finance bill: an additional amendment to silence civil society

Comments 13

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

Jack | Monday 08 August 2022

Ce monde continue les massacres et va à sa perte inéluctable

MARC | Monday 16 August 2021

Stop animal objet, ils ont droit au bien-être et au respect.

Techniconseil | Tuesday 22 June 2021

J'ai été un lanceur d'alerte et je connais les tristes conséquences de cette démarche citoyenne.

zébulon | Saturday 19 June 2021

Les lanceurs d'alerte ont fait bouger les choses.
Sans eux pas de vaches hublots, pas d'abattoirs sordides, pas de transports d'animaux innommables, seulement il faudrait que les gens ouvrent les yeux devant toute cette cruauté faite aux animaux et arrêtent de ne penser qu'à leur petit yaourt ou petit steak.