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Poison nightmare: Hundreds of animals dead in Algarve

Poisoned meat is left behind in rural areas of central Algarve

GNR police are investigating the deaths of hundreds of animals which are believed to have been poisoned in the municipalities of Albufeira and Silves.

For decades, residents in the areas have been sounding the alarm over the practice of leaving poisoned meat in rural areas. But the situation has reportedly worsened.

Reports SIC,  at least two dogs are believed to have ingested contaminated meat last week: one survived, the other eventually died.

Dogs, cats, sheep: the list of animals that die from eating these poisoned pieces of meat goes on.

“Sometimes they come home sick and we are able to take them to the veterinarian hospital and help them. In other cases they consume more poison and never return home ,” farmer Luís Neves told SIC.

It’s not only domestic and livestock animals that are affected. Animals like foxes, eagles, and mongooses also fall victim to these poisonings.

“There are over 40 traps spread throughout this hunting area. Those who set them do so at dawn and use small pieces of chicken. The poison used is a pesticide prohibited in Portugal and responsible for thousands of deaths,” SIC reports.

Algoz resident Dário Bacalhau told SIC about his six-month-old Border Collie who disappeared and is believed to have also fallen victim to the poisoned meat.

“These days, we’re scared of walking our dogs around here due to the fear that they will die. Imagine if a child touches it (poisoned meat), they could die too,” he lamented.

“I don’t know what to do, like many of my neighbours: shepherds have lost sheep, many dogs,” he added.

The president of Albufeira’s hunting and fishing association has said “there are no words to describe” the situation.

Everyone is worried. This is a situation that has been dragging on for many years,” said João Arez.

At least eight police inquiries have been opened by GNR police. In one of the on-site investigations, one of the search dogs also died from eating poisoned meat.

By Michael Bruxo

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