France is a marginal performer (“D”) under the VACI, on par with Egypt and Japan. Although it has moderate reliance on farmed animal production and adequate animal protection legislation, the country is a high consumer of animal products.
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France slaughters around 15.8 land-based animals per person per year, compared to the global average of 10.1. The country’s dependence on farmed animals is close to the global average, with around 3.9 animals farmed per person. France is the world’s largest producer of intensive duck meat outside of Asia. With factory farming on the rise, broiler chickens are now mostly intensively farmed, and cages for egg-laying hens and the use of stalls in pig production has become widespread.
Animal products are widely perceived as vital components of France’s culture and its rural economy. The French diet contains a very high proportion of animal products, with around 59% of the average person’s diet in France made up of land-based animal protein, compared with a global average of 35.2%. Each person consumes around 60.9g of land-based animal protein per day, versus a global average of 27.2g. As at 2018, a study estimated that vegetarians made up 5% of the French population, half the share in Germany. Foie gras, banned in many countries, is still considered a delicacy in the country. Cruel farming methods are needed to produce foie gras, such as the force feeding of geese and ducks which causes their livers to swell up to ten times their normal size.
France is rated as an adequate performer (“C”) under the Animal Protection Index (API), and its farmed animal protection legislation achieved a marginal performance rating (“D”) under the same index. Even though France’s legislation is aligned with the minimum requirements of the EU, its compliance record is mixed. The French Civil Code was modified in 2015 to recognise animals as “living beings gifted with sentience”. However, this did not change the legal situation of farmed animals who remain property under the law. Learn more about the quality of France’s legislative protections on the API here.