Polish firm cuts contracts with 2 stud farms amid turmoil

AP News
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Posted: Apr 29, 2016 6:13 PM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A private Polish company said it has ended its contracts with two well-known state-owned stud farms after managers were replaced by the government, highlighting the turmoil surrounding the farms that feature Arabian and other horses.

The Polturf company cut contracts with farms in Michalow and in Janow Podlaski, where it had organized prestigious auctions of Arabian horses. Polturf co-owner Barbara Mazurek said on the company's website that the decision was dictated by a "lack of cooperation" on the part of the studs' new management ahead of an auction planned for August.

The head of the state Agricultural Property Agency, Waldemar Humiecki, said Friday that the Aug. 15 auction will go ahead as planned but will be organized by a new company, Poznan International Fair, which has a long history of organizing business fairs and other events.

The government unexpectedly replaced the internationally recognized heads of the farms in February and opened an investigation into alleged mismanagement during their terms, including the death of a precious mare in Janow Podlaski in October.

The fired managers have denied any wrongdoing.

Since their dismissal, however, two mares — both belonging to Shirley Watts, the wife of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts — have died at Janow Podlaski, prompting Watts and some other breeders to remove their horses from the farm. The deaths are also under investigation by veterinary authorities and prosecutors.

Since 1970, the beauty of Arabian horses bred in Poland has drawn breeders from around the world to the auctions held yearly at the Janow Podlaski farm that will celebrate 200 years of existence in 2017.