Nov. 25 - Horse enthusiasts in France protest against a sales tax rise they say will lead to the slaughter of thousands of animals. Paul Chapman reports
French riding enthusiasts took to the streets of Paris in protest over a planned sales tax rise they say will lead to the slaughter of thousands of horses and ponies. They say the tax hike from seven to 20 per cent will force the closure of 2,000 riding centres. They're predicting the loss of thousands of jobs and certain death for the animals whose livelihoods depend on the centres. (SOUNDBITE) (French) SERGE LECOMTE, PRESIDENT OF THE FRENCH HORSE-RIDING FEDERATION, SAYING: "The whole industry is threatened. The sector has 40,000 staff - employees and managers - it's the top sports employer and it's a real threat because, according to analysis, it means 6,000 jobs are in danger." The European Union says a reduced sales tax rate for equestrian centres was improperly applied and has ordered France to raise it. The French government's pledging additional funds to prop up the sports sector from next year to make up for the rise. The protest was the latest in a wave across France over the past two months in a backlash against taxation, poor economic growth and unemployment. Those and a series of other issues like immigration have sent the popularity rating of President Francois Hollande to a record low.