In China, volunteers scrambled to rescue more than 1,000 cats, intended for meat, after a truck crash. The cats, crammed in wooden crates, were intended for the restaurants of Guangdong when the accident happened in the Changsha, Hunan province.
The cats had been trapped in cages without food and water and stranded on the roadside for nearly 24 hours before being rescued. Local animal lovers, after hearing the news about the abandoned cats, mobilized and transported surviving felines to the Changsha Small Animal Protection Association for treatment. When the volunteers came upon the accident scene, they heard cries and saw numerous paws of the cats protruding from the gaps in the crates, reports the Huffington Post.
Cat meat or cat flesh is meat prepared from domestic cats for human consumption. Its acceptability as a food source varies in different parts of the world. A number of cultures and religions consider the consumption of cat meat to be taboo, for hygienic or humane reasons. Supporters of cat meat argue that the difference between livestock and pets is subjective and that there is no difference with eating the meat of different animals.
In Guangdong and Guangxi provinces in south-eastern China, people consider cat flesh food. In Guangdong, cat meat is a main ingredient in the traditional dish “dragon, tiger, phoenix” (snake, kitten, chicken). Organized cat-collectors supply the southern restaurants with animals that often originate in Anhui and Jiangsu provinces. In this case, the cats were likely from the countryside, raised by villagers as a cheap and easy way of making money. Because eating kittens is considered bad luck, they wait until the cats are more than 12 months old before selling them to the markets.
However, in northern China eating cat is considered unacceptable. It is estimated that around four million cats are eaten in China each year. With the increase of cats as pets in China, opposition towards the traditional use of cats for food has grown.
According to the Daily Mail, cats in China can spend up to two months squeezed 25 at a time inside cages which measure just two feet by three feet. Many die before they reach their final destination. They are usually sold to restaurant owners for about £1 per pound, less if they are bought in bulk. They are fed once a day on a mixture of rice and animal feed. After the cats are bought at market, they’re usually taken away in mesh nets and plastic bags and forced to endure several more days of claustrophobic storage. Every evening, the cats are moved to cages outside the restaurant and customers are invited to select one. The chef then kills the cat of their choice by cutting its throat.
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