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Nearly 700 pigs die in French farm fire

media Pigs on a farm at Ploneour-Lanvern, western France in 2015 AFP PHOTO/FRED TANNEAU

Some 680 pigs and piglets were burnt alive on a farm in central France on Saturday, the second such blaze on a farm in the region this year.

The fire broke out at about midday in a 800m² building where the animals were kept on a farm near Montmarault, in the Allier region.

The owners tried to save the pigs but were unable to do so because of thick smoke and flames coming out of the shed, regional paper La Montagne reports.

Thirty-five firefighters were sent to the scene and an investigation into its causes has been opened.

The blaze is far from the first on a farm that keeps hundreds of animals in sheds.

In February 400 pigs died in a 2,000m² building near Autry-Issards in the Allier

And in 2012 3,000 died in a fire on a farm where 15,000 pigs were being raised in the Marne region, east of Paris.

The National Assembly debated a bill on animal welfare, which is to toughen punishment for mistreatment during transport and in abattoirs, last week.

Left-wingers and Greens have been highly critical of factory farming methods.

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