Dismissal pronounced after the death of a horse that fell in green algae
Justice is however critical as for the inaction of the State to contain the phenomenon
We had to wait more than ten years. On January 18, the magistrates of the public health pole of the Paris court declared a dismissal in the case of the dead horse after falling in green algae in Brittany. The facts took place in 2009 on a beach in Saint-Michel-en-Grève in the Côtes d'Armor. The rider had also fallen into the rotting seaweed. Vincent Petit had lost consciousness but had been saved by witnesses. His horse hadn't been so lucky and died suddenly.
A scourge of the Breton coast, green algae can be dangerous if they are not picked up in time. Their putrefaction generates hydrogen sulfide which can be fatal if inhaled. Several animals have already succumbed to it. Men too, but if the link has never been formally established. In 2018, the death of Thierry Morfoisse, an agent in charge of collecting green algae, was recognized as a work accident.
The link between agricultural fertilizers and green tides clearly established
To justify the dismissal, the Parisian examining magistrates stressed "the absence of sufficient charges". “No regulatory violation could be found. No criminal prosecution is, therefore, possible ", specify the magistrates, while noting" the inadequacy of the current criminal law to the ecological disasters that can constitute the phenomena of green tides ".
The continuation of the dismissal order could, however, strengthen the environmental activists in their fight. The judges believe that the long investigation made it possible to demonstrate the link "between the dumping of agricultural fertilizers and the formation of green tides" but recall that "despite this scientific consensus, the health and environmental dangers associated with green tides have not significantly changed the legislation ”. The magistrates believe, however, that "the over-fertilization of agricultural soils is still the domain of bad agricultural practice and not of criminal misconduct".
The State still questioned
In the dismissal order, the judges question "the inertia of the French public authorities in the face of a problem which has been scientifically identified for years". In 2014, the Nantes administrative court of appeal recognized for the first time the State's responsibility for the health consequences of the proliferation of green algae on the coast, by agreeing to compensate the owner of the dead horse.