surprise adoption in committee of an amendment targeting animal protection associations

Members of the association for the defense of animal rights L214 during a demonstration near the National Assembly, January 26, 2021.

It is a device presented several times since 2019 and several times rejected, which the deputy of Côtes-d’Armor Marc Le Fur (Les Républicains, LR) this time saw take an important step. On Wednesday, October 5, the Finance Committee of the National Assembly adopted an amendment to the finance bill (PLF) for 2023 aimed at removing the tax advantages of associations for the protection of animals or the defense of the environment which would introduce illegally on farms, slaughterhouses or industrial sites. If this amendment (also defended by MPs Véronique Louwagie (LR) and Marie-Christine Dalloz (LR) were to apply, individuals making a donation to these organizations could no longer benefit from a tax deduction, which is equivalent today to a form of public subsidy for the voluntary sector.

Shortly after this adoption, forty associations (including Greenpeace, Oxfam, Réseau Action Climat, the League for the Protection of Birds, Compassion in World Farming, etc.) signed a joint press release denouncing an attempt to “muzzling civil society”. “This amendment is further proof of the relentlessness of the public authorities towards civil society organizations”criticize the NGOs, which recall the precedents of the Déméter gendarmerie cell, whose purpose is to “fight against attacks on the agricultural world”, or the law against separatism, used according to the associations to monitor their actions.

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The Republicans’ amendment specifically targets, without naming it, the L214 organization, which broadcasts clandestinely shot videos to the general public showing the underside of intensive farming practices or mass slaughter. For Marc Le Fur, these are “completely wrong films, with disturbing comments and music”. If L214 remains discreet about its filming conditions, it claims a form of clandestinity to show images which, otherwise, would not come out of the closed doors of certain farms and slaughterhouses. Some of L214’s videos are obtained by farm employees or by members of the association who are hired on agricultural sites. At the end of 2021, the association was sentenced by the Rennes Court of Appeal for “home invasion” for a video shot in a Morbihan rabbit farm and appealed to the Court of Cassation.

“Amendment not operational”

If he insisted on condemning “intrusions into farms and violence”the rapporteur of the PLF, Jean-René Cazeneuve (Renaissance, Gers), issued an unfavorable opinion on the proposed device, recalling that intrusions are already liable to legal sanctions. “We have to stop procrastinating. On each case, justice does its work, but we cannot encourage by public money methods of this kind “argues for his part Mr. Le Fur, who found broad support among the deputies of the majority, who voted for the amendment or abstained. “We wanted to mark the occasion, justify to the World Mathieu Lefèvre, coordinator for the PLF of the Renaissance group. The right to respect for private property is fundamental, we cannot equate people who carry out intrusions with whistleblowers. » The member recognizes, however, that the subject was not discussed with the government and that “the amendment is not operational”. “I am not sure that it will prosper until the public session”he continues.

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