A couple living on a farm near Czestochowa in southern Poland are currently being questioned by Polish police regarding selling lard on their farm that appears to have come from dogs and puppies that have been fattened for slaughter, in an attempt to create one of Poland’s famed national dishes out of the dogs.
The couple is selling the lard as an alternative to one of Poland’s national dishes, called Smalec. It is a special type of lard that is served with bread as an appetizer of sorts in restaurants throughout Poland.
The Smalec dish is usually created using pork, however, both the Polish police and activists from the animal welfare group and charity called ‘For Animals’, believe that the owners of the farm started producing and selling the dog lard in an effort to profit from certain folkloric beliefs. Such beliefs, that are widely present throughout the countryside, state that the fat of a dog contains extraordinary medicinal properties. It is said that dog lard contains many health benefits; the couple is selling the dog lard as a health supplement.
The ‘For Animals’ animal welfare group, sent one of their inspectors to go undercover to the farm to buy some of the lard. Renata Mizera, head of the ‘For Animals’ group and the undercover inspector, stated that the woman had repeatedly expressed the wondrous health benefits that the lard contained, even going so far as to admit that she gave a spoonful of the lard to her daughter’s evening meal every night.
“Half a liter of fat was being sold for 37 Euros ($53, £31),” said Renata Mizera.
Mizera’s report regarding her undercover investigation also stated that the dogs that lived on the farm “were overfed to the point of no longer being able to walk”.
After buying the so-called ‘dog lard’ from the man and the woman, Mizera on behalf of the ‘For Animals’ animal welfare and charity group, tipped off the Polish police, who then, subsequently, raided the farm. Upon entering the outbuildings on the farm, the police and the other veterinary officials who accompanied them, found the carcasses of many dogs scattered around the floors, in badly decomposing states.
In a different room machinery, including a bloody axe, and a myriad of blood stained clothing, were discovered. The Polish police also found what they depicted as a “filthy” refrigerator inside which was housed a large assortment of bottles containing the lard.
“I don’t even want to think about what happened here,” said one police scientist. “It makes your hair stand on end.”
The investigation also revealed 28 dogs, including St Bernard’s and other puppies that were so overweight and overfed that they could hardly move or stand up. The dogs and puppies were all kept in filthy cages on the farm.
The bottles that contained the lard have been sent off for tests in order to determine whether or not the lard does indeed come from the dogs. Apparently one of the suspects is claiming that the lard actually comes from pigs and not dogs.
If the tests come back positive and it is therefore confirmed that the lard is derived from the dogs, then this would mean that the consumption of dogs, which is usually associated with China or South Korea, still has a grip in Europe, albeit a folkloric grip.
“We know of places in Poland where dogs are killed as part of a tradition going back generations. Dog fat is thought to be good for lung diseases and other illnesses. It’s also good business. A half-liter bottle can go for about £30,” explained Renata Mizera.
If it is found that the lard that the couple has been selling from their farm does, indeed, come from the dogs, then they could potentially face a 2 year jail sentence for animal cruelty as well as ‘distributing an unsafe substance’.
The ‘For Animals’ welfare group is presently caring for all 28 of the dogs that were found and rescued and are now hoping to find new, healthy, homes for all them soon.
Photo Credit: Oni Saints