Poultry crisis in Poland: almost 18 million birds dead
June 9, 2021
Can you imagine being locked up in a cage, with no access to food or water, for several days? This is what happened to foxes on a fur farm in the village of near Krotoszyn in Poland. Eighteen of them have been rescued. This is a story of horrifying negligence and of the largest ever intervention on a Polish fur farm.
The residents became alarmed at the sight of foxes running around the village – and not just a couple of them, but several. This is unusual. Animals do escape from farms from time to time, but never this many at the same time. To investigate the issue, Otwarte Klatki activists visited the farm together with the local animal protection agency representatives.
Even from the outside of the farm enclosure, they spotted two dog corpses lying in a fox cage. Examining the surroundings further, they found a heap of disintegrating fox remains. When the police arrived, they entered the farm together.
The first thing they saw were rows of cages filled with dead foxes. But this heartbreaking sight was only the beginning of the horror they were about to witness.
Further inside the farm, they finally found some foxes that were still alive. Locked together with them in the cages, there were even more corpses. On closer examination, one could see bites on them. Before the activists’ eyes, some foxes were eating the disintegrating bodies of their dead companions. How long had they been starving?
Suddenly, a red shape dashed beneath the cages – it was a young female fox, looking for the smallest scraps of food. The activists saw her eating droppings and bits of fox remains from under the cages.
Some of the foxes had broken teeth, and the wooden elements of cages were gnawed off. The foxes must have been trying to escape, or to stick their heads out to at least catch some rainwater to drink. There was no water whatsoever in the drinking troughs. How long had these foxes been left there? Had it been days or weeks already?
The foxes on the farm were barely alive, starving, locked in cages together with others that were left to die a slow, torturous death. Their suffering was immense. It turned out that the farm had been abandoned by the owner, who had gone to prison. Nobody had been taking care of the animals, even though there are institutions in place responsible for controlling farms like that one. The District Veterinary Inspectorate neglected to investigate what happened to the abandoned foxes.
Fur farms are notorious for gross negligence like this. Fur farming is always cruel to animals – it is impossible for a wild animal, such as a fox or a mink, to have a good life in a tiny cage.
A system that permits terrible situations such as the one described here is incapable of preventing animal suffering. The only solution to this is a complete ban on fur farming. It is the only way to save foxes, minks and racoons from having to suffer for the profits of a narrow group of farm owners.
The intervention described here was the largest one that took place in Poland to this day. Together with the local animal protection agency,
Otwarte Klatki rescued and provided safe shelter to as many as eighteen foxes.
Because of the horrifying conditions and multiple injuries the foxes have sustained, they will most probably require long-term and costly veterinary care. To give them good lives, the activists will have to build them new outside enclosures and cover the costs of their monthly sustenance until the end of the foxes’ lives.
While the lives of those 18 foxes are saved, many others still suffer on fur farms. In Poland, we are still waiting for the final law to ban fur farming.