A cargo truck containing thousands of cats stacked in bamboo cages was being smuggled into Vietnam from China. Police seized the animals and proceeded crush the cats to death in a dump truck while they were still locked in their cages. The police claim that the cats were killed due to the potential of disease.
According to the Daily Mail, the shipment of cats was stopped in Hanoi by police and the cats were seized. Photos of the cats crammed tightly into the tiny cages caused an outpouring of support via social media. Many regional and international animal welfare groups offered to find homes for the cats who survived the ordeal and to help treat the injured and sick animals.
Famed French actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot contacted the US Embassy and offered financial help in finding the cats homes, but when she attempted to pledge her money, she found out the horrific fate of the cats.
When the groups contacted the local police to find out how to secure the cats, they were told that all of the cats had been killed. The report notes that an investigator with the Asia Canine Protection Alliance was told the cats were killed out of fear of disease.
“Le Duc Chinh, who investigated the seizure of cats for animal welfare group the Asia Canine Protection Alliance (ACPA), said environmental officials told him all the cats had to be destroyed and buried in case they spread disease.”
As if the killing of the cats that had rescue organizations lined up to help save them wasn’t enough, the organizations learned that the cats had been disposed of via a dump truck. The police watched as a waste management company crushed the cats in a large dump truck. The cats were still locked in their bamboo cages when the crushing occurred. After crushing the cats, the waste management company then buried the remains.
“The cats were buried and covered with lime because of concerns that they might spread disease in the capital,” he said. “Many of the cats had died during the long trip from China.”
John Dalley of Thailand-based Soi Dog Foundation, which led attempts by the coalition to save the lives of the cats, notes that this case is particularly disturbing as so many rescue organizations had offered to help care for the cats prior to their death.
“This is a particularly distressing case, not least because a number of organisations including ourselves offered to help. We had vets on standby from Thursday throughout the weekend ready to fly from Thailand. The Vietnamese authorities quite simply refused to give any information, or respond to calls. The fact that police intercepted the cats which were bound for restaurants and slaughter houses is commendable, but what followed is not acceptable in any civilised country. We can only hope that they did not die in vain, and the authorities will take steps to implement existing laws to end the inhumane trade in dogs, cats and wildlife that are not recognized as livestock in Vietnam.”