23,000 baby chickens die after being abandoned at airport in Spain

Chicks, photo: Stefano Zocca on Unsplash
Chicks, photo: Stefano Zocca on Unsplash

Around 23,000 chicks have died after being abandoned for days in the cargo terminal of the Adolfo Suárez de Madrid-Barajas airport in Spain. The 3,000 animals who survived were taken to animal welfare organizations.

On Sunday, police discovered 26,000 babies in the cargo terminal, the national newspaper El Pais reported. They were crammed into cardboard boxes and pallets. The animals had not been eating or drinking for three days and left in cold conditions. Most of the chicks died.

Animal welfare organizations were able to rescue around 3,000 chicks, who will need a loving home when they’re healthy and strong again.

“Thousands of chicks who had been abandoned at the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport rescued. They are in the care of two animal welfare organizations,” the Spanish National Police said on Twitter on Wednesday. “Investigations continue on those responsible for the crime of animal abuse.”

Police immediately contacted the animal welfare organization ALBA to take in the animals alive. The president, Carolina Corral, went to the airport after receiving photos of the situation of the baby chickens.

“It was enough to make my hair stand on end,” she told El Pais. “It was impressive, and we did not have the experience to host so many chicks or adequate infrastructure.”

Fernando Sánchez, president of the animal welfare organization Salvando Peludos also went to the airport and told El Pais that it was “the most serious situation” he has seen in his life.

Both ALBA and Salvando Peludos sought help through social media to find the necessary material to help the babies: heat lamps, water troughs and food. But the situation was overwhelming, Sánched said: “The first day we finished locating them at 11:00 pm, and the next day half had died.” 

The chicks that made it are staying at animal welfare organizations, veterinarians and shelter houses. 

“The problem will be that within ten days, we’ll have 3,000 chickens looking for a home. We don’t want them to go to factory farms,” Sánchez told El Pais.

Police are investigating who left the chickens to die at the cargo terminal of the airport in Madrid. The company and people responsible could face criminal charges for animal abuse.

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