Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has announced measures to combat animal mistreatment and trafficking, following a 30% increase in acts of violence against animals between 2016 and 2021according to government figures. He confirmed these measures during his visit to a SPA shelter in Chamarande (Essonne). France Bleu gave an update on the Minister's announcements, notably the creation of referents in police stations and a special division of police officers and gendarmes.
A designated officer in each police station and gendarmerie brigade
Gérald Darmanin, French Minister of the Interior, has announced the creation of animal abuse referents in every police station and gendarmerie. These 4,000 police officers and gendarmes will be trained to handle complaints of animal abuse, understand the applicable laws, protect animals and prosecute the perpetrators. They will also liaise with government veterinary services and animal protection associations.
On January 18, the SPA (Société Protectrice des Animaux) and the Direction Centrale de la Sécurité Publique announced a partnership to help police officers combat animal abuse. Police officers will be trained in criminal matters relating to animal protection, and in how to deal with victims of abuse, so that when people go to a police station, they have someone to talk to. SPA president Jacques-Charles Fombonne detailed the initiative at the time.
A dedicated criminal investigation department
In October 2022, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced the creation of a national investigation division comprising 15 police officers and gendarmes to investigate serious crimes against animals. The division was set up at the beginning of January, and is attached to the Office central de lutte contre les atteintes à l'environnement et à la santé publique. The Minister described the division as a "specialized judicial office" that will handle investigations requiring technical expertise. Investigators will be tasked by magistrates with investigating particularly serious malicious acts against animals.
This unit will be responsible for investigating acts of cruelty to animals. It will work in close collaboration with animal protection associations, and will be attached to the Office central de lutte contre les atteintes à l'environnement et à la santé publique. In addition, nine judicial police and gendarmerie units will be set up in mainland France and overseas territories to reinforce this action.