5000 rabbits ‘seized by the taxman’ left to die of starvation

5000 rabbits bred by an agricultural supply company in Estarreja (Aveiro) that has ‘gone bust’ have been “seized” for non-payment of debts and left packed in cages to die of starvation.

This is the claim of their owner José Moreira who says he has tried to alert authorities but “already 25% (of the animals) are dead and the others are all ill”.

Moreira’s business was “seized” with all its assets on November 13.

For the first few days, he said he managed to feed the animals with food he already had, but when that ran out, he could not afford to buy any more.

His insolvent business has become a “communal grave”, says tabloid Correio da Manhã.

With the story now gaining traction, the Ministry of Agriculture is quoted as telling reporters that it only heard of the situation yesterday (Monday), and will be supplying food to the animals ASAP.

The problem however will be how to deal with the results of weeks of enforced neglect: “stench, flies, dirt and hundreds of dead rabbit bodies”, explains CM.

The issue is “a question of public health”, says José Moreira, suggesting surviving rabbits are also in dire need of a return to good hygiene.

In a short follow-up, Correio da Manhã has revealed that 300 kgs of rabbit food has now been supplied to the surviving animals whose onward passage to the ‘slaughterhouse’ is already “assured”.

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