By Elisa Black-Taylor
Collage by Michael at PoC based on images in the public domain
Five hundred cats were saved in early November in Xuzhou when a police officer pulled over an industrial truck with out of town license plates. Xuzhou is located in northwest China and is most famous for it’s many battles over the past 2600 years.
Xuzhou, Jiangsu is an historical and beautiful city, but meat trade involving cats as well as dogs continues in this area. Thankfully, an alert police officer grew suspicious when he heard noises coming from the back of the truck. When asked what the driver was transporting, the driver replied “rabbits.” The officer decided to inspect the contents of the truck. Instead of rabbits, he found cats stuffed in burlap bags gasping for breath. Many were severely dehydrated.
This isn’t the first time cats have been rescued while being transported for the meat trade in Xuzhou. Here’s a short clip from MSNBC news dated September 2010, when 100 cats were saved.
As for the most recent cat rescue, local animal rescues were contacted, and negotiation for the cats began. Apparently it’s not illegal to transport cats for the meat trade in Xuzhou, so police had no grounds to legally seize and rescue the cats. In the end, the cats were traded for the equivalent of $800.
These cats are now being housed at Xuzhou Animal Rescue Centre, bringing the total number of cats at the facility to over 1000.
The animal rescue volunteers are exhausted, with many becoming physically ill from working around the clock to save these 500 cats. Many cats are too terrified for human contact and rehoming these cats will take time and patience.
This week The Harmony Fund, a U.S. based 501c3 that supports animal rescue worldwide, made a generous donation to Xuzhou Animal Rescue Centre. Those who would like to support this charity may make a donation using their website.
Cats being sold for meat is common in China. The Chinese round up mostly feral and stray cats for the purpose of the meat trade. These cats are held in horrible conditions from the time of their capture right up until they are sold as exotic meat.Cats are sold at market with up to 25 cats per cage. Those who don’t die from being crushed or asphyxiation are sold to restaurants and hotels, where cat meat is considered a delicacy.
The Chinese defend their right to consume cat. They rationalize that while some cultures eat cow or pigs or goat, their culture consumes dogs and cats.
Michael (PoC) wrote an excellent article on this topic back in March 2009. And this one provides some detail too: cat meat name and shame.
This is a topic really haven’t read much about. It tends to put me in a bad mood to read about cats being used as food. How do the readers here feel about this horrible practice? Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right.
P.S from Michael. The Chinese cat meat trade is an abomination to many in the West. However a lot of people in the West say there is no difference between rabbits, cows and cats. It is quite hard to argue against that. However, the difference is this. The cats in China that are killed in a brutal fashion before being cooked are not farm livestock animals whose welfare is meant to be controlled. These are stray cats, some of which are domestic cats. They are not livestock and the deal we have with cats is that they are meant to be companions and not a meal. And certainly not trapped, caged and slaughtered in a cruel manner.