Hundreds of cats are saved from an underground slaughterhouse
An owner searching for his lost moggy ended up saving hundreds of stolen cats at an underground slaughterhouse in north-east China. A total of 375 cats in the abattoir were discovered by the owner and an animal rescue group on December 1 in the port city of Tianjin when they were out looking for the lost pet cat.
When the group entered the premises they found the felines crammed inside 24 small cages, many of them emaciated and sick.
- A total of 375 cats were found crammed into 24 small cages at the site in Tianjin
- Owner had been looking for his lost pet when he stumbled upon the abattoir
- The illegal slaughterhouse in north-east China is now under police investigation
- The cats are under the care of activities, who will put them in shelters and homes
The discovery was made by animal lovers in Tianjin and Beijing-based China Animal Protection Power (CAPP), a partner organisation of animal welfare group Humane Society International.
Activists had long suspected that an illegal slaughter operation existed somewhere in the area but had never been able to find it, according to Humane Society International in a news release.
The man’s cat had disappeared two weeks earlier and he was convinced it had been stolen by dog and cat thieves who slaughter the pets for the illegal meat trade in China.
At the site, the rescuers found piles of cat hair and remains of slaughtered cats.
There is no market for cat meat in north china, where the abattoir was located, but activists suspect cat meat is sometimes sold as mutton or rabbit at roadside barbecue food stands, according to the animal welfare group. Most of the cat meat supply is sold in Guangdong and Guangxi in south China.
Eating cat meat is not illegal in the country and it features in a dish known as dragon and tiger soup, which was once popular in Guangdong province but has been banned since 2007.
However, an estimated four million cats – including stolen pets and urban strays – are killed for the meat trade every year in the country, according to Peter Li, the organisation’s China policy specialist.
One of CAPP’s members, identified as Mr Huang, said they have negotiated with the local police department to confiscate all 375 cats who were signed over to the volunteer group Capital Animal Welfare Association.
‘We wanted not simply to save these individual cats, but to see the slaughterhouse permanently shut down, and to encourage the authorities to intensify action to crack down on all such illegal slaughter operations across the country,’ he said.
‘A legislative ban on the trade is our ultimate goal, but we don’t need to wait for that to make a difference. We just need police forces willing to act like this one in Tianjin, he added.
The illegal slaughter operation in Tianjin is now under police investigation and the cats are in the care of activists who will accommodate them in shelters and homes in Tianjin and Beijing.
Source: The Guardian