PARIS (Reuters) – Investigators have opened more than 150 probes into a spate of killings and mutilations of horses across France, Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie said on Wednesday.
“We have an unacceptable situation of absolutely sickening cruelty acts,” Denormandie told France Info radio.
“I hear the fear, the concerns, the disarray of horse owners,” he said, adding that a toll free number was being made available to horse owners from Wednesday morning.
Horses have been found with ears cut off, eyes gouged out and genitals mutilated. Police say they have no idea why; theories include a satanic rite, macabre trophy hunt or internet challenge.
A 50-year-old jobless man arrested on Monday in eastern France as part of the investigation was released without charge, a police source said on Tuesday.
Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky