Arrests were made in Palma on Thursday. | Alejandro Sepúlveda

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Six people have been arrested in Palma and charged with animal abuse, after police discovered "hundreds of animals in terrible conditions".

A joint operation between the Guardia Civil, the National Police and Palma Police was initiated by the National Police's narcotics squad. Operation Star concerned suspected marijuana and hashish production at a farm. The arrests were made on Thursday after police raided the farm.

Intelligence gathering prior to the raid led to the realisation that there were hundreds of animals in terrible conditions. The Guardia Civil's Seprona division, which deals with animal welfare, was therefore brought into the operation.

Three kilograms of marijuana and hashish were seized and two marijuana plantations with around 400 plants were dismantled. Illegal electricity supply connections were discovered as were all of the animals.

Seprona officers were assisted by vets from the government's agriculture ministry and by a vet who specialises in animal behaviour. Together, they identified and verified all the animals and arranged for many of them to be moved to an animal sanctuary.

Their poor condition was due to overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, mutilations (cutting of the tail and ears) and breeding in inadequate conditions, harmful to the health of puppies. Many animals showed clear signs of disease and of poor welfare.

Among the animals which were taken away were forty American Bullys and fifty cocks. Other animals remain on the farm as they do not have disease and have not been mutilated. These include more cocks, a pony, a Vietnamese pig and a piranha fish.

Investigators are seeking to determine why there were all these animals and what their uses were. As well as animal abuse, those arrested have been charged with a crime against public health (drugs manufacture and trafficking) and with electricity fraud.