An Importer provides new evidence
Thierry Plet started out in the pet business with Francis Duprat, some fifteen years ago, when both imported puppies from England. After a few years away from the pet trade, in 1997 he opened a shop in Gardanne, selling puppies that were supplied by the Belgian transit centre that One Voice has exposed.
Mr Plet already featured on One Voice's list of importers of puppies and kittens. When he and his wife learned of our campaign they decided to cease their activity and, along with their four young children, face unemployment rather than be part of this contemptible trade, which they have now joined One Voice in exposing. We admire their courage and hope that others will follow their example.
In April, Muriel Arnal and two investigators travelled to Gardanne to meet Mr and Mrs Plet and put together a file for the press and for the courts. A French TV crew filmed their meeting and the images were shown on the news.
Belgium changes its law
Up until the beginning of the year, the puppies that arrived at Thierry Plet's shop were in reasonably good health. However, immediately after One Voice's investigation it would seem that Belgium modified its cat and dog export laws, as a result of which only animals aged at least three and a half months could leave the country. This new measure was no doubt intended to reassure France on the question of animal health, and in particular rabies.
Indeed, rabies still exists in certain areas of Eastern Europe and animals from these countries must be vaccinated… which means they must be at least three months old.
Following this change to Belgian law, Mr Plet should only have received animals aged at least three and a half months and this was indeed the age that was given on the animals' documents, signed by the Belgian Ministry of Agriculture. In reality though, most of the puppies were barely seven weeks old. Almost half the animals that arrived at Mr Plet's pet shop died, despite his attempts to save them.
Note that the majority of pet shops do not treat sick animals as this costs too much: a puppy's life has little value in their profit-obsessed eyes.
Thanks to Mr Plet's continued efforts, some of the sick puppies were saved but the majority were too young and died. Mr Plet began collecting veterinary evidence on the puppies' illnesses and real ages. The information contained in these reports is so scandalous we have decided to publish extracts.
An exemplary complaint
One Voice and Mr and Mrs Plet have filed a complaint against the Belgian transit centre. Falsified information regarding the animals' ages, with anti-rabies certificates signed by Belgian agricultural ministry vets, serious illnesses and dozens of dead animals… this operation will certainly cause upheaval in the illegal puppy trade that goes on between Eastern Europe and France via Belgium.
One Voice will of course follow up these charges with specific requests to the Belgian and French authorities. Information on new developments in this important campaign will be published this winter.