AniMag' n°2

AniMag' n°2

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The Falaise sow trial

Falaise is a village in France, 60 km away from Normandy beaches.

In 1385, taking advantage of the fact that parents were frolicking in the hay, a sow devoured a 3 months old infant, Jean Le Maux, who died of his wounds. She was then arrested, placed in pretrial detention with other prisoners. A lawyer was appointed to represent her. But the cause was lost in advance, and even the owner of the beast testified against it. She was sentenced to death and the decision was notified to her. The local breeders were asked to bring their animals to attend the execution, the purpose being that they serve as an example. She was hanged by the legs, with a mask with a human face on the snout.

In the Middle Ages, indeed, pigs and sows roamed free in the streets of villages, where they acted as garbage collectors, and it happened that as they walked, they swallowed children.

The Falaise sow is not the only animal to have been “judged”. In the Middle Ages, the animal was considered a responsible person for its actions and, over three centuries, there are, in France, hundreds of animal trials. Nine times out of ten, they are pigs.