Cruelty on the Menu in China


China Protest Decries Eating Cats

WARNING: The following content describes the horrific treatment of cats, and is not for the squeamish.

There has been a recent increase in media reports and public outrage at the horrific cat meat trade in China. If you think it doesn’t get any worse than killing cats for meat, it does… the practice involves unspeakable cruelty and abuse, both in the handling of the cats prior to butchering and the manner in which they are killed. The following is from the Animals Asia website:

The struggle to end dog and cat eating in China, and the horrific cruelty associated with the trade, was a major reason for the formation of Animals Asia 10 years ago. Through our Friends….or Food? campaign, this issue remains very much at the core of our work.

Recent reports in the Chinese media have once again focused attention on this barbaric practice. The Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper, based in the southern city of Guangzhou in Guangdong province (the centre of dog and cat eating in China), reported on 17 December that a group of traffickers had shipped around 1,500 live cats from Jiangsu province into Guangdong, for sale to restaurants in cities there, and that thousands more were being transported every day.

Chengdu Business Daily newspaper reported that around 10,000 cats were eaten in Guangdong province every day, many of which may have been cared for by local residents, and may even have been family pets. These poor creatures suffer a horrific fate. After being trapped and transported for hours crushed together in tiny bamboo or wire crates with no food or water, many are skinned alive and thrown into boiling water, before being served to restaurant goers.

Meat from cats can apparently fetch around 36 yuan (just over US$5) per kg in restaurants in Dongguan, Guangdong. Live cats caught for the trade in other provinces fetch just 3 or 4 yuan (US$0.5) per kg. Wholesalers, traffickers and restaurant owners all take their cut along the way.

There are rays of hope in China. The Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper recently conducted an online survey of readers in Guangdong, with 75% of respondents considering the eating of cats to be ruthless. Chinese animal welfare groups, some of which get financial support from Animals Asia, have organised protests in cities like Beijing and Guangzhou this month; indeed our very own China Relations director, Christie Yang, accompanied the Guangzhou group Xixi Cat to the train station to check for cats arriving from Hubei province, and gave interviews to the local press. The issue is generating far more media coverage within China than ever before.

The problem is that there is currently no law in China under which the perpetrators of these activities can be prosecuted. Whats more, there is no public health inspection of these animals, so people eating cat meat may well be putting their own health at risk.

Animals Asia is writing to the Guangdong and Guangzhou government authorities to highlight the national and international concern surrounding this activity, and the need for animal welfare legislation in order to bring it to an end. In addition, we are writing letters to the Chinese embassies in countries where we work, in order to increase international awareness.
If you want to help, write a polite letter to your local Chinese embassy ( explaining your concerns , and the urgent need for legislation to protect dogs, cats and other animals from this kind of horrific treatment. The Chinese authorities must be made to realise that these kinds of practices reflect badly on China and her people on the international stage. Also, please consider helping by donating to Animals Asia’s Friends….or Food? campaign.

Amazingly, in doing research on organizations that are taking action to stop this sickening abuse of cats, Animals Asia was the only org I could find (if you know of others, please let me know). Even PETA is not yet involved, other than issuing a statement decrying the cat meat trade in China.

Click here to read more about the recent protests.

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