500 Cats Saved From Meat Trade

By Elisa Black-Taylor
Collage by Michael at PoC based on images in the public domain

Cat Meat Trade China

Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

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.

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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.

Comments anyone?


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.

12 thoughts on “500 Cats Saved From Meat Trade”

  1. This is so disgusting that I have no words to describe this. Our pets turned to meat – like there is nothing else to eat! Cats are very poor source of meat and as I have heard the taste is also not good. So why some Chinese consume these poor creatures?

    By searching more about cruelty of cats in China I came out one scientific blog page where it is described ”how to prepare a cat”

    I can’t believe that nobody still attacks the stupidity of that so called scientist, who repeats a lie that most of birds die because of cats and cats are bloody serial killers! His solution: eat the cats for a world to become a better place!

    • Thanks for the support and comment, Laura. The world of madness and lies. I totally agree that to eat a pet animal is ghastly. Some Chinese don’t see it that way. They have no animal welfare laws. There is not protection for the domestic, stray or feral cat in China. It is open season to kill them. A few people in China realise this is morally wrong. These people are fighting back.


  2. Being vegetarian I can’t think of how anyone can eat the flesh of any animal, bird, or fish at all now, yet I used to do so myself until 13 years ago. I always felt bad about it, but being brought up in a meat eating family I couldn’t imagine life without meat as the main part of meals. When I decided I must stop being a hypocrite, that I couldn’t honestly say I love animals and yet eat their flesh, I at first felt a great loss, but knew if I wavered I’d never have the willpower to do it! At first I did miss meat, it’s no use denying that, but gradually I started to feel much better morally and passing a butcher’s shop or a fish stall or whatever made me feel physically sick, to a vegetarian the smell of dead flesh is overpowering. Now to me eating any animal bird or fish flesh at all would be like eating a dead person’s flesh. I hate the thought of cats and dogs being cruelly killed and eaten in China but I can understand why they say it’s no worse than people in other countries eating rabbits, pigs, cows, sheep, etc. Many animals and birds no matter what supposed welfare laws ‘protect’ them, live and die horribly but end up disguised in neat packs in Supermarkets so that people can pretend the victims have had happy lives and kind deaths. ‘Livestock’ labels them neatly into animals born and killed as food, so that no one has to think of the fear and pain of each individual animal, they are viewed as collective ‘livestock’ born simply to die to satisfy meat eaters.
    I think a lot of young people are much more aware and sympathetic to this than are older generations, because we didn’t have the internet, we couldn’t read about and watch videos of the suffering, so we didn’t think about it. It was just the way things were.
    I also think that in a few hundred years time, if the human race still exists, they will look upon us as barbaric, just as we now look upon canniballs as barbaric.
    There is much needed in this world to make the human race evolve and it can only happen gradually and it comes to each of us in time what we can do to help. It’s no good trying to force our views on others,we can only each do what we can do and what makes us feel better than doing nothing.

  3. Hi Elisa,

    As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think animals should be used in any way. They are sentient beings same as us and have a right to a full, happy life.

    It bothers me when any animal gets abused or murdered. I have a deep love for all animals but cats have a special place in my heart. I’m glad you brought this article to light but at the same time it makes me feel outraged and ill.

    My cats “taught” me to become a vegetarian back in 1993. I even feel bad when I feed them their food because it’s composed of slaughtered animals. But they need to eat meat, so I feed them meat.

    I think that donating to groups like the Harmony Fund is a good starting point.

    The proper solution is a change in social attitude and a change in the laws.

    The real question is how do we make effective and quick progress with the 2 goals just mentioned?

    It would take a lot of money, power, good writers, and good speakers.

    I cry when I think about the opposing forces. It makes me feel desperate and nearly helpless.

    Input on the matter would be very much appreciated – more than I can put into words.

    =^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=

    • We need to reach the young people as they are the next generation. The older generation is more set in their ways about culture and what’s normal.

      • Absolutely. At the moment I see no one educating people anywhere on the specific topic of animal welfare, wild and domestic. China sadly has a poor record concerning animal welfare. That does not mean all Chinese are hopeless at it. It just means that in general the culture is harsh on animals. The Chinese government as far as I am aware are doing nothing to change things. In fact, bearing in mind the admitted corruption on that country they probably encourage poor animal welfare because you can make lots of money from animals and looking after them properly does not factor in that equation.

    • You’re a sweety (decent person), Liz. The cruelty perpetrated on stray cats in parts of China depress me. The trouble about China is that they do as they please because the world cannot do without them as a cheap manufacturing center. It is not just about cat meat. Chinese medicine is worth about 50 billion USD per year and it seems to be based on animal parts. This horrible medicine is killing off wildlife including the highly endangered tiger and the rhino. I am not against the Chinese. I just hate their culture in relation to animals.

      And I see no way to change that for the foreseeable future. I really am starting to believe that great parts of the wild species of animal are going to become extinct over the next 100 years.

      I feel helpless too. I have actually given up and accept it because if you do not you hurt yourself.

      It does not pay to think about animal cruelty and abuse. We should never look at it in videos etc. It serves no purpose and it hurts our psyche.

      • I agree completely with your last words Michael. Bringing the joy of the animals to light has more power than focusing on the ugly.

        • Yes, well said. There are lots of good things out there. The problem with the world for lots of people is that it is too cruel and nasty. People who like animals and care have to carry and extra burden which hurts them.

          I would bet that if a survey was done on the profile of people who were depressed, there would be a significant number of animal lovers in there.

          I am not depressed but melancholy at the poor state of animal welfare. As I said, I try and focus on other things.


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