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Cops Rescue Hedgehogs Being Kept For The Creepiest Reason

Thanks to police in Indre-et-Loire, France, 13 hedgehogs are now roaming free after almost suffering a shocking fate.

Commander Denis Tardieu says officers were investigating an unrelated crime when they stumbled upon a cage full of hedgehogs. According to police, the helpless animals were being kept to be eaten as their captors' "future lunch."

Facebook/Gendarmerie Indre et Loire

In some communities, hedgehogs are eaten as "a traditional custom," news station France Bleu reports. In France, however, the European hedgehog is a protected species, whose capture can be punished by up to a year in prison and an almost $17,000 fine.

After finding the cage, police say they immediately returned the hedgehogs to their natural environment.

Facebook/Gendarmerie Indre et Loire

The case has now been forwarded to judicial authorities, but so far no arrests have been announced in connection with the incident.

"The future of these little creatures seemed bleak," wrote Indre-et-Loire Police on Facebook. "Long live freedom."