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Massacre 150 vultures descend to attack and kill a horse, sparking farmers' protest in France

Farmer Claire Vieilledent told France Bleu radio of the moment of horror, but also of her guilt at not being able to protect the old but healthy mare

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A photo from the scene taken by farmer Claire Veilledent.

A photo from the scene taken by farmer Claire Veilledent.

A photo from the scene taken by farmer Claire Veilledent.

A flock of 150 vultures attacked and killed a horse as the owners tried in vain to rescue the mare from the flesh-eating birds.

The attacked sparked protests by famers in in Aveyron, France amid claims the growing vulture population is threatening humans as well as livestock.

Farmer Claire Vieilledent told France Bleu radio of the moment of horror, but also of her guilt at not being able to protect the old but healthy mare.

"It was a massacre with vultures everywhere, and the mare could not be seen. She was on the ground, but under vultures which were at chest height.”

“We had to walk through the middle. It was really scary. To bring the corpse back, we had a terrible time.”

“We were going to take their food from them. And there, they went completely mad.”

They said the struggled to push through the birds which can each weigh up to 30 kilos.

One photo shows the birds of prey around farm machinery as they removed the stricken animal from the scene.

A neighbour also took photographs of the birds circling and landing in the field where the attack took place near the town of Lévézou.

An autopsy proved that the mare’s death was due to the injuries caused by the vultures

Farmers’ unions claim there have been at least a dozen fatal vulture attacks on animals this year and fear humans could too be at risk.

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The mare's carcass was then left at the official offices in protest at what farmers see as a lack of action by the government to protect their livestock.

They want to be allowed to regulate the vulture population and compensation for farmers whose animals are attacked.

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