30. May 2020

Poland | Bodzentyn | Monthly Report May: Cattle and Horse Markets

The chickens are packed in groups of several into the bags. Some bags do not even have a ventilation hole.

Again, there are no horses being sold at the horse market during our inspection. This has been the case for many months now.

Our team notices a cow with overgrown hind hooves and reports the case to the competent authorities.

Poland is gradually lifting some of the national restrictions related to COVID-19. Therefore, the town of Bodzentyn allows animal markets to re-open. Our team can now continue with their market inspections to ensure that the welfare of the animals at the market is respected. Obligations to keep social distance at least at two meters are still in place and visitors as well as traders are obliged to wear face masks and to keep their hands disinfected.

Our team starts with inspecting the horse market first. There are no animals at the market. This has been the case for many months now. The increased use of machines on Polish farms has led to a decrease in horse trading, especially in the sale of draught horses. However, there are still people present at the horse market selling and buying farm equipment.

Next, our team is inspecting the cattle market in Bodzentyn. The number of animals at the market is lower than before the coronavirus crisis. We assume that there are two reasons for this: First, local farmers are currently not interested in buying new animals due to the fact that the subsidy season by the Polish government for keeping animals that has recently ended. Moreover, the meat industry is having problems due to the coronavirus situation. Many restaurants and bars had to close down which is why the demand for meat dropped. Furthermore, many slaughterhouse employees have been infected by the virus which also affected the demand for live animals destined for slaughter. 

Our team documents a couple of animal welfare violations at the market this time. There are two cows with overgrown hooves and chickens that are packed in groups of several into bags. Some of the bags do not even have any ventilation holes. In the past, such handling of chickens was commonly observed by our team members. But we worked it out with the sellers to use cardboard boxes instead with holes for fresh air. When we are trying to explain that using such bags is wrong, we are verbally attacked by one elderly couple. Before we can report it to the market manager, the couple rushes away and leaves the market. We will report all infringements to the competent authorities.