The Policía Nacional came across 26,000 abandoned chicks in Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport.
They had spent the last three days without food or water suffering also very low night temperatures. Consequently 6,000 of them had perished by the time that the police found them.
Pallets were stacked with boxes containing the live animals which had been left in the loading terminal. Police investigation of airport records turned up that the 26,000 chicks had arrived three days earlier.
It appears that they had been abandoned because rainfall has collapsed some of the cardboard boxes, making it impossible for them to carry on their journey.
The suffering was made worse by their cramped conditions and hunger had driven the survivors to eat the ones that had perished.
The police managed to track down the company that had despatched the chicks and then decided to simply write them off when they couldn’t be delivered. The police then contacted two animal protection associations to take in the survivors, but in the end only 3,000 of them survived the ordeal.
The police investigation continues in order to bring charges of animal cruelty against those responsible.