At the end of October, activists from the Polish animal rights organization Otwarte Klatki (Open Cages) intervened on a fox farm in Durzyn (Greater Poland Voivodeship). They had been informed by the people living nearby that over a dozen foxes were wandering around the village and they had probably escaped from the farm. Even though the organization has carried out many interventions on fur farms before, what they found in Durzyn left the activists speechless.

The photographs were captured by Andrew Skowron/Otwarte Klatki.

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The foxes made huge holes in the cages, trying to free themselves

A thirsty fox trying to lick the water from another cage’s roof

Most of the foxes were already dead. Some had been killed by electrocution (the usual way to kill foxes for fur), but many abandoned animals died of hunger and thirst. Living foxes were in the same cages as the dead ones, with some trying to cuddle the dead bodies of their companions. There were also foxes who had managed to escape the tiny cages—they were wandering around the farm, looking for food in the piles of feces and remains.

Besides foxes, there were also raccoon dogs on the farm. It’s quite common to breed foxes and raccoon dogs on the same farm

As it turned out, the farm was left without any supervision after its owner went to jail. There was an appointed person who was supposed to take care of the beautiful animals, but she failed to do so. Over 200 foxes and a couple of raccoon dogs were left in a mortal trap to die, with no chance of saving themselves. About 50 wild animals survived, mostly because they were eating the ones that had already died.

Survivors of the horror on the farm in Durzyn

The activists had never seen such suffering before

Scared foxes cuddling with each other

This fox experienced the horror of a fur farm

The activists managed to rescue 18 foxes. They are all safe in an animal shelter and under veterinary observation. Otwarte Klatki is raising money to cover the costs of the medical treatments and building new homes for the animals.

This fox managed to escape the farm

This fox escaped the cage; she is now safe

Bogna, one of the activists, catching the fox that had escaped from her cage

This fox was rescued from the fur farm

Poland is the third largest fox fur producer in the world. At the beginning of September, the ruling party presented a project for a new animal protection bill which includes a fur farming ban. The final decision hasn’t been made yet, but the animal rescue activists are still fighting for the fur ban to be officially introduced.

The veterinary check-up after the intervention

Most of the rescued foxes have health issues

18 foxes were rescued and are safe

Many of them had broken teeth, probably from biting the wires

Bogna, an Otwarte Klatki activist, holding a rescued fox