Animal Welfare Group Blocked from Attending Paris Horse Expo

The anti-hippophagy campaign of the France-based Foundation Brigitte Bardot (FBB), a non-profit organization which aims to prevent animal cruelty worldwide, has led to its exclusion from a Parisian horse show and exposition. Hippophagy, or the consumption of horsemeat, results in the slaughter of an estimated 20,000 horses in France every year.

The 36th annual "Salon du Cheval," with 500 vendors, 1,600 horses, ponies, and donkeys, and nearly 200,000 visitors, issued a letter to the FBB in late November stating that their reservation for a booth space was no longer valid, despite the presence of FBB at the show for three previous years.

"This is not a place for militant and polemic demonstrations," said a spokesperson for the show, explaining that the FBB was apparently planning to show "shocking" video images of horses going to slaughter.

Constance Cluset, spokesperson for the FBB, said the images were not of slaughterhouses and showed no blood. "The Salon is the place for us to get the word out to equestrians. Before choosing a (riding) club, they need to be asking, 'What happens to your horses when they're ready to retire?'"

Show organizers offered to renew the reservation last Friday, Cluset said, on the condition that the FBB keep quiet about hippophagy.

"Forget videos," Cluset said. "We can't hand out pamphlets or even say the word 'horsemeat.' We declined."

The FBB has filed a complaint with the French High Court.

About the Author

Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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