Monday 02 August 2021 | 95

Remanded in custody for filming in the Sobeval calf slaughterhouse, the supplier to the luxury goods industry.


Mis à jour le 02 August 2021

After receiving a report of maltreatment, One Voice reveals videos of the biggest French luxury leather production company, specialising in calfskins: Sobeval, in the Dordogne. The investigator sent to the scene by our organisation has just come out of 36 hours in custody… For wanting to show as many people as possible what no-one ever sees: the production line where leather handbags come from which are sold for a small fortune by French luxury brands, and the animal suffering resulting from it. We are filing a complaint for maltreatment carried out by professionals for offences, duly recorded and documented.

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No, our investigator will not be the scapegoat of the agri-food industry!

With this investigation, we highlight one of the problems of commitment to the laws relating to animals in France. A few weeks ago, a journalist informed us about maltreatment at Sobeval and One Voice once again decided to play the part of the whistleblower and stand in for the public services, as we often do and have done with others (L214's investigation condemned the agony of calves for their flesh in this same slaughterhouse, with videos as evidence). It’s a disgrace.

Our investigator has just come out of custody after two exhausting nights and a day. Without causing any damage and without interfering, he filmed the Sobeval death factory line and recorded the offences for which we are filing a complaint.. In a slaughterhouse though, slaughterhouses in which Emmanuel Macron had promised to get cameras installed during his presidential campaign in 2017 to control law enforcement regarding animal maltreatment. A promise which was not kept.

Muriel Arnal, the president of One Voice, announced:

« What are we supposed to do when the authorities don’t respect the feeble words of the law which exist to protect animals? Keep quiet? Let it happen? While the ones who mistreat animals can carry on without being troubled, our investigator spent 36 hours in custody. The day the law will be respected, where this cruelty is punished, then there will no longer be a need for whistleblowers. But we are still very far away from that day … »

The videos we publish are unbearable: the exhausting steps of the workers and the coldness of this industry do not care about the hundreds of individuals that it kills every day and converts into tons of carcasses. In this sector, only money reigns, at the cost of the animals put into this endless cycle, purely considered as prime and very profitable pre-materials.

The horror of French style luxury

The result of artificial insemination, born into a world with nothing natural, snatched from your mother and sent to die… In the Sobeval slaughterhouse, in the south-west, 500 to 600 babies just a few months old are killed every day.

Babies? Yes, calves. Just calves, French ones. The skin of calves, much finer and softer than that of their elders, is sold at a much higher price. It is ‘French quality’, they brag to us. The French style luxury, for fashion houses such as “Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel and LVMH”, reported Gilles Gauthier, the Managing Director of the Boulazac area. For eight years, the company has made investments to expand and the calfskins, products derived from these young bovines, will be damaged as little as possible and sold to these tanneries which supply brands that make a French style leather shop a national pride. But the underlying facts about these ‘luxury’ calfskins are not a pretty sight.

The Sobeval slaughterhouse factory, a death carousel for calves

These babies and all young bovines arrive in trucks, squashed in, sometimes injured or ill. They still have to wait for the slaughterhouse to open. At daybreak, men make them enter the slaughter line, by force if necessary, struck by some. The offences filmed for which we are going to file a complaint. Then, it is the diabolical carousel. They move forward by the hundreds in a maze-like queue with only death as the destination. Stunned or not, depending on the type of slaughter, spasms, suspended by a hoof pierced with a hook, head down, they appear to regain consciousness before their throat is slit. Blood spurts out and spreads onto the ground and everywhere around. Their skin is removed, then their body is cut methodically into pieces.

The skins are then piled up on top of one other and the first salting treatment begins. These dozens of piles, of around one metre high, from which liquids gradually trickle, remain in situ for a while before being sent elsewhere for the next stage of tanning. And one day they become a pair of gloves or shoes, a bag, the cover of a steering wheel, sports gear, the cover of a bound book…

The leather of calves is, contrary to numerous assumptions on the matter, a lucrative product, a pollutant and the result of animal suffering.

Sign our petition! We are demanding the immediate closure of this slaughterhouse which contravenes the law in many ways and we call for the luxury goods companies to turn to fashion without suffering. We are filing a complaint against Sobeval for offences committed and recorded.

Translated from the French by Sophie Martin

Julia Mothé
Hr blog

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Comments 95

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Nathalie | Wednesday 20 April 2022

Mais c'est du n'importe quoi la justice française. Comment peut-on encore tolérer de telles atrocités juste pour du pognon 🤬. Et c'est la personne qui a le courage de dénoncer ces atrocités qui est mis en garde à vue 🤬 ? Je suis totalement dégoûtée de cette "justice" française 🤮.

Linda | Wednesday 03 November 2021

Je trouve IMMONDE de faire souffrir et d'agir en sauvage envers ces petits veaux afin de satisfaire les maisons de luxe !!!
A quel prix ce Barbarisme ?

Poyca | Wednesday 27 October 2021

L'horreur inutile... Les hommes sont capables de tellement plus beau et plus respectable...

Shlomo | Tuesday 26 October 2021

Les caméras doivent être généralisées.