A group of animal activists in China rescued nearly 2,000 cats from being sold to restaurants as imitation pork and rabbit meat. The rescue took place in Suzhou, located in China’s Jiangsu Province.
According to reports by Metro, the cats were packed in crates and loaded onto a truck before heading to the Guangxi province, where the felines were expected to be sold as meat to the unnamed restaurants. Activists were both exhilarated and disturbed by the rescue. Many of the cats were family pets that were stolen and shoved into cages until they were ready to be sold to the Chinese restaurants. Others were strays or cats born into the horrific environment.
A spokesperson for PETA spoke to the Daily Mail, expressing how nauseating the scene was despite the happiness that the cats were rescue.
“All people with cats or dogs will feel nauseous imagining them being stolen from their home and sold to a slaughterhouse to be turned into a piece of meat, because they are members of our family.”
The truck was pulled over by police after the activists reported the incident. In recent years, similar cases have been reported involving both dogs and cats.
The video below may be too graphic for some viewers, however, it highlights the conditions the cats live in while they are preparing to be sold to restaurants and passed off as pork and rabbit meat.
Captive cats in China are not only sold as a food source but also used for experimentation and for their furs. The conditions they are kept in, regardless of their intended purpose, are often inhumane and disgusting. Cramped into wooden or wire cages, left to sit in their own filth and the waste of other cats, the felines are often prone to disease and other health issues.
Many of the cats were stolen from loving families, taken away without understanding why they are not allowed to return home to their families as they suffer inside their cages. Many of the cats have become feral, scared of humans and what they might do to them.
For the average individual that visits a restaurant in China, he or she may be unaware that the rabbit meat or pork that is being eaten could actually be someone’s household pet. The unknown presents a health risk for restaurant goers as they potentially ingest mystery meats that may not have been handled properly or are disease-free.
In the United States and other countries, similar scenarios play out in kitten and puppy mills as cats are bred in mass quantities, many of which are purebred and sold to families for a hefty price. Although the cats within the United States are sometimes sold to loving homes and live prosperous and happy lives, those that do not make the grade or the ones that are used purely to breed are subjected to similar conditions as the ones that were rescued in China.
Although the animal activists do not know exactly what they will do with all 2,000 cats, it is understood that some of them are not healthy enough to heal from their conditions and will most likely be put to sleep. The activists are attempting to contact any owners who they can possibly reach out to, hoping to reunite the cats with their families. Other cats that are deemed healthy enough to be adopted will hopefully find new homes with loving families.
Unfortunately, the joyous rescue of the 2,000 cats is only a small portion of caged cats within the animal trade business in China. Activists hope this rescue, and others, will raise awareness to the point that the business slows down and eventually stops.
[Photo by Stringer/Getty Images]