1. A fur farm has been discovered in Raciborsk near Wieliczka where foxes were kept in cruel conditions.
2. Seventeen foxes were rescued by the Open Cages Association.
3. The foxes will be taken care of by animal shelters all over Poland.
On the 23rd of March, the Animal Welfare Organization in Cracow discovered a small fox farm along with an illegal puppy mill. Foxes were being bred in extremely small cages, and it could be seen at first glance that the farm did not meet the already low requirements for breeding fur animals. The case was taken over from the AWOC by Open Cages, which in 2015 rescued two crippled foxes from a farm in Kościan (http://www.otwarteklatki.pl/
The foxes rescued by the association were brought to safe places all around Poland: the Animal Shelter in Korabiewice run by Viva Foundation, Przystań Ocalenie (Rescue Haven) in Tychy, the Centre for Rehabilitation of Wild Animals in Jelonki, the Old Zoo in Poznań and the S.O.S. Foundation Animal Shelter. Cooperation between the animal protection organizations and animal care centres was crucial to ensure that such a high number of animals were given the opportunity to be relocated in animal care facilities adapted to taking care of animals, who are not easy to look after. “On site we encountered exhausted animals, which had spent all their lives in cages, barely able to move. To be honest, they had more luck than the foxes kept in slightly bigger, but regulatory, cages, because in late fall, they will be skinned and their fur will be sold. The foxes removed from Raciborsko are going to spend the rest of their lives under the care of responsible guardians”.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development’s executive order requires a space of only 0.6 m2 to be allocated to each individual fox in a breeding facility. The animal farm in Raciborsko did not meet even these strikingly low requirements, and it was only due to this fact that it was possible to remove the animals. Each year in Poland, approximately a hundred thousand foxes and raccoon dogs and around 8–10 mln mink are bred and killed in similar, though larger, animal farms. In November 2016, the Open Cages Association submitted a petition to the Polish Parliament to ban the breeding of canines for fur, and a draft amendment to the Animal Protection Act is being drawn up by the Parliamentary Friends of Animals Team, which is intended to ban all breeding of animals for fur. According to the polls commissioned by Open Cages, 67% of Poles support such changes.
The priority of the intervention was to safely accommodate the rescued foxes. However, based on collected evidence, the association intends to report the matter as a suspected criminal offense to the Prosecutor’s Office.