Who ordered the sweet and sour pussies? Moment truck crammed with FIVE HUNDRED cats was stopped en route to restaurants in China
By David Wilkes
PUBLISHED: 21:55 GMT, 1 November 2012 | UPDATED: 01:35 GMT, 3 November 2012
Some were crammed into rusty cages so small they could not stand up.
Others were gasping for air in sacks. All were starving, exhausted and just hours from being killed and served up as a delicacy in restaurants.
These harrowing photographs were taken after 500 cats were found piled on top of each other in a lorry bound for the slaughterhouse.
Many would have once been pets, stolen off the streets by ‘cat snatchers’. They are taken for slaughter in what animal welfare campaigners describe as ‘hideous conditions’, often without food or water.
These cats were saved by chance when police pulled the vehicle over for a routine check in the city of Xuzhou, eastern China, after noticing it had out-of-town licence plates.
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They asked the driver what was being transported after hearing muffled whimpers from under the tarpaulin covering the cargo,
‘He said it was a full load of rabbit, but after we instructed him to uncover the load we were shocked to find a full load of living cats,’ said officer Sun Hai.
But the police contacted animal lovers in the city who negotiated for three hours with the driver, before eventually managing to buy the cats for 3,500 Yuan (£350).
The rescuers gave the cats food, water and medical attention and took them away to safety.
Eating cat meat dates back thousands of years in China, and despite a fledgling animal rights movement it continues to be considered a delicacy in some areas.
One Cantonese dish, called ‘tiger and dragon locked in battle’, is a hot pot of cat and snake meat.
The appetite for the dish has already made cats scarce and costly in the southern region of Guangdong, where restaurants have had to look elsewhere for a steady supply.
This means the animals are often transported long distances from other areas.
Animal welfare groups say many do not survive the journey and are dead before they reach their destination.
Yesterday Alan Knight, chief executive of International Animal Rescue, said: ‘There are horrendous practices in China and their animal welfare system is abysmal.
‘It is a hugely rich country and they really need to take themselves out of the dark ages and into a more humane way of treating and transporting animals.’
‘These are animals which in much of the world are pets and they are suffering terribly.’
Draft animal protection laws were presented to the Chinese government last year but no legislation has yet been passed.
- Shocking News: Cubs Bred for Profit, Turn From Their Mothers – and Sent to Die in the Wild. the Cruel Trutz of China´s Panda Factories (spiritandanimal.wordpress.com)
- Chinese cats saved from the cooking pot (telegraph.co.uk)
- 500 Cats Saved from Being Served as Food in Chinese Restaurants (news.softpedia.com)
- Truck crammed with 500 cats intercepted en route to restaurants in China (steppaz1961.wordpress.com)