Last Thursday, a man driving a truck with several wooden crates filled with cats was stopped by concerned people in the streets of Putuo, in Shanghai. The man was on his way to sell the 600 cats to an illegal buyer for their fur and meat.
Several animal rescue groups were called to the site via Weibo
(Chinese Twitter) to help rescue the animals. The police was also called, but it was the onlookers and the rescuers who took the cats from the protesting man. It is unknown if the man was detained, but it is unlikely as animal cruelty isn't typified as a crime in China.
There were 32 boxes with cats in the truck. Each crate on the truck contained about 19 cats. Four crates were taken by ThinkAdoption and PPAR, 14 crates of cats were taken on site by spontaneous adopters. Volunteers took 14 crates and released the cats into 10 different cat-friendly compounds.
Rescuers from the groups ThinkAdoption and Paw Pals Animal Rescue (PPAR) deployed 70 cats to different hospitals to be checked, treated and spayed or neutered.
"Cat trucks" are a common practice in China, and with people gradually growing more aware of animal cruelty, confrontations against cat-truck drivers happen more often.
According to the Toronto Star
, around two million cats and dogs are slaughtered each year in China for their pelts.
Cat fur and meat aren't for local consumption only. Canada
is a big importer of Chinese fur:
60 per cent of all fur garments that enter Canada come from China, trade worth about $12 million annually.
Animal cruelty is still the rule in China, rather than the exception, and is not punished by law. As reported by The Toronto Star
Women snatch the live animals by their back legs then smash their heads on the hard ground, or strike them over the head with a bamboo pole. The animals are stripped of their fur, which is stretched over wide wooden paddles.