Authorities have discovered about 26,000 day-old-chicks abandoned in cardboard boxes at the Madrid Barajas airport in Spain. The chicks were left abandoned in the boxes without food or water for three days before authorities found them. About 23,000 of them had died from thirst and starvation, causing serious stench in the whole area.
The police said many of the surviving chicks had even begun to eat the carcasses of their dead neighbors to live, despite suffering from hypothermia. The boxes of chicks were being transported from one location through the airport in Spain before they were abandoned by the transporter. The chicks were possibly abandoned because it rained the day before and the entire cardboard boxes became wet and broke apart, making it impossible to transport them without obtaining new boxes.
The dead chicks were putrefying and gave off an offensive smell, the authorities said. “The decay of the dead animals created a strong smell that made living conditions for the survivors even worse,” the police said.
The police could not determine the final destination of the chicks since they were still in transit through the airport. The airport authorities reached out to the shipping company but they denied ownership of the chicks, causing the authorities to contact Salvando Peludos and Asociación para la Liberación y el Bienestar Animal (ALBA) and Salvando Peludos – two animal protection organizations. Both organizations found it difficult to rehabilitate the remaining chicks since their expertise and resources lay in dealing with cats and dogs.
“We didn’t know what to do to give them the best chance of survival because we had never been faced with a situation like this,” said Carolina Corral, president of ALBA. “I hope I never see anything like it again.”
The two organizations managed to send off 3,200 surviving chicks to some farms in the neighborhoods with the hopes that they will be rehabilitated and nourished back to health.