Monday, August 17, 2009

Polish farm investigated over allegations of selling dog lard

A man and woman from a village near Czwstochowa are facing animal cruelty charges after it was discovered they may have been producing smalec (lard) from dog fat.

Police and veterinary inspectors, tipped off by an animal charity, searched the outbuildings to find the rotting remains of dogs strewn across the floor and around 28 dogs which were kept in cages, some so overweight they were struggling to stand.

Another room contained machinery, an axe and bloodied clothes, along with a fridge containing bottles of lard.

“I don't even want to think about what happened here, It makes your hair stand on end,” a police scientist was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The jars containing the lard have now been sent away for tests, to confirm that they contents come from canines and not, as one of the suspects insists, pig fat.

Smalec is usually made from pig lard, but it is believed the owners of the farm had taken advantage of an old belief that the fat of dogs has special medicinal properties.

Renata Mizera, head of the “For Animals” Foundation, which was investigating the farm had heard of the practice in Poland. “We know of places in Poland where dogs are killed as part of a tradition going back generations,” she said. “Dog fat is thought to be good for lung diseases and other illnesses. It's also good business. A half-liter bottle can go for about zl.145.”

The surviving dogs have been taken away and are being cared for by the Foundation For Animals, until new homes are found for them.