Despite the neck scar, the Sanofi horse ended up on our plates

From racetrack to plate, passed several years in Sanofi Pasteur’s agricultural laboratory. The Marseille criminal court was interested on Tuesday, on the second day of a new horse meat trade trial, in the fate of 185 horses it said were “reformed” from Sanofi. And many of them end up up the food chain, even though they carry identifiable marks when they enter the slaughterhouse: a visible injection mark at neck level on the left side, and a mark on the rump, with iron until the summer of 2012, then with nitrogen. The letter “S” in the name of Sanofi.

“I had a very good client to whom I owed a lot, he allowed me to get money”, confides at the helm of Fabrice Daniel, about Sanofi buying him horses for the manufacture of anti-serum horse poison, before selling them back to him a few years later after good and loyal service. Sanofi Farm, located in Alba-la-Romaine, in Ardèche, is a longtime customer of the family. Like his father before him, Fabrice Daniel, a Gard-based horse dealer, supplied Sanofi with French travelers from Normandy. In batches of 20 to 25 horses, three times a year.

“Undocumented horse galley”

In 2004, the rules of the game changed for the resale of retired horses. “Before, I bought more expensive and I cut it, says Fabrice Daniel. After that, as a precautionary principle, they decided that they should not be slaughtered. “Since then, Sanofi has been selling it for a pittance, 10 euros, and mentioning “no slaughter” in the veterinary records and invoices made on behalf of Fabrice Daniel’s company. Of the 185 horses Sanofi sold in 2011 and 2012, investigators found traces of only 113 horses. Among them, at least 29 horses ended up in the Narbonne slaughterhouse, through Patrick Rochette, a wholesaler of meat and considered a principal actor of the fraud being tried today in Marseille.

“You know that his main activity is butchering? asked court president Céline Ballerini. “He never told me it was for slaughter, I never thought, somehow defending a horse dealer, who was also accused of illegal castration. “I will tell Sanofi at least. If I have doubts, I will react,” he added during a grueling hearing. Anyway, the case is interesting for him, with Sanofi horses being bought for 10 euros and resold… for a weight in kilograms of meat, between 250 and 300 euros.

Meanwhile, Patrick Rochette acknowledged this fact. Of the forty Sanofi horses purchased from Fabrice Daniel, 29 were slaughtered in Narbonne, on false grounds entered into the identification book: “I replaced the sheet that said no slaughter, and we emptied it,” he admitted. According to him, the other horses were exported to Spain, for use as saddles. This morning, Patrick Rochette explained at length in the bar the mechanics of horse deception that are not fit for consumption. “We played with paper, it’s true that we made mistakes,” he admits. And also: “All my life these paperless easels have been a hassle. »

“Beautiful horse, very well groomed, fat, seller”

“It’s hard to understand why you don’t ask yourself about the health risks, asks Céline Ballerini about Sanofi horses. This file has a public health connotation, why don’t you have this barrier? The chief justice reminds him of the recent health scandal, the negative consequences on the equine industry’s image. And questions are raised about the “long-term effects” of Sanofi’s consumption of horse meat, “despite legal expertise showing that a priori, in the short and medium term, there is no harm to human consumption.

For Patrick Rochette, Sanofi trotters are above all “beautiful horses, very well cared for, fat, peddlers”. “In my opinion, before we killed these horses, they were incredible meat horses,” he said. I never thought of poisoning someone. “For this vision, everything is commercial, the president of the court opposed a photo showing the broken neck of a Sanofi horse. So much so that the butcher was shocked to receive an incomplete carcass.

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