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News Section Icon Published 06/10/2009

Otoz Animal is a member of the Compassion led European Coalition for Farm Animals (ECFA) and a leading Polish animal welfare organisation. Together with Straż dla Zwierząt (another Polish animal welfare organisation) they visited a dairy farm in Janowice in Northern Poland and discovered cows that were underfed, exhausted, had little access to water and suffered from poor welfare conditions.

The two organisations immediately reported the case to the Polish Chief Veterinary Office, but help for the 600 cows was only forthcoming when the incident was brought to the attention of the media and the local police.

The filming showed very thin cows stuck in slurry, wounded, lacking water and afflicted by lameness. Their footage also shows a suffering cow, which was left on the farm for over 48 hours. The animal was only put down after Otoz Animal had alerted one of the main Polish TV stations (Polsat TV) about the incident. After seeing the case on national television, the Polish Chief Veterinary Officer ordered that the cow be sent to slaughter. Another 18 animals also had to be culled because of their poor conditions. We are now supporting Otoz Animal in their fight to do justice to the cows in Janowice by preparing an expert opinion on the conditions at the farm, which will be used to appeal to the public prosecutor in Poland.

Compassion in World Farming coordinates the work of ECFA organisations across Europe helping the member groups achieve success in lobbying and campaigning, and have worked alongside Otoz Animal for many years. In particular we have helped train Otoz Animal personnel to develop their investigation skills and thus enhance their campaigning activities.

Ewa Gebert is Compassion's ECFA coordinator for Poland and the Baltic States and has been instrumental in lobbying for better animal welfare legislation in Poland, proper enforcement of existing Polish and EU animal law both with parliamentarians and especially the veterinary authorities. She hopes this latest incident will encourage closer cooperation between the animal welfare organisations and the Polish veterinary authorities to ensure that high welfare standards for farm animals are enforced on farms, during transport and at slaughter.

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