‘Blind boxes’ containing 70 barely weaned kittens dumped in Shanghai

NEWS AND COMMENT – SHANGHAI, CHINA: The blind box craze in China feeds on entirely the wrong attitude of the consumers who regard an animal companion as a toy. This is the craze which sends pets in boxes to purchasers by mail order. They have no idea what they are buying. It is a surprise! Yes, it is a surprise if the animal survives the ordeal. How they dreamt up this horrendous trade is beyond the comprehension of most people.

Bling box craze in China is cruel and callous and is rooted in a bad attitude towards animal welfare

Bling box craze in China is cruel and callous and is rooted in a bad attitude towards animal welfare. Photo: Weibo.

South China Morning Post tells us that it is illegal to send live animals via courier in boxes in China but it continues to happen in large numbers. Most of the cats and dogs die in the boxes. And on this occasion more than 100 blind boxes were abandoned in suburban Shanghai.

There were 30 puppies and 70 kittens in the mystery boxes dumped near a petrol station. They were saved by animal advocates and volunteers. They were in poor health and some died after being rescued. The police and local veterinarians were involved in the rescue. Many were just weaned and only two months old. As expected, they were in a bad way with hot and wet weather.

The labels on the boxes had been removed so the operation which sent the boxes cannot be identified. However, a resident nearby said that ZTO had dumped them. They’ve been fined previously for the same practice. But ZTO is a courier business. The police need to interview them and ask who they contracted with to deliver the blind boxes. Then prosecute both businesses.

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The problem as I see it is that there is corruption and poor law enforcement in China. The law is there but unenforced. Although China still has no general animal welfare laws. No animal welfare laws in 2021! This is at the root of the problem. If the government created proper, general animal welfare laws it would begin a change in attitude towards animals. Law changes attitudes.

As I said at the beginning, the blind box craze would not exist but for the public who participate in this trade. They must have the attitude that cats and dogs are no different to inanimate objects.

One of the volunteers who rescued the pets, Jiang Lizhen, said that many of these consumers regard an animal companion as toys and don’t understand their needs.

She said:

“They play with the animals when they want and abandon them when they don’t want them anymore. Also, some others are too stingy to buy a rare, foreign cat through proper procedures and have the mentality that they might be lucky enough to get one from a surprise box.”

Once again this is about education; the lack of it. There needs to be a radical program of education in parts of China about animal welfare in addition to fresh and effective animal welfare laws and decent enforcement thereof. That’s the only way this mad and cruel craze will be stopped for good.

A blind box operation was shut down in May 2021 after a raid by animal rights activists but they pop up again because the business is deemed viable by the unscrupulous people who run them.

This sort of pet trade would be impossible to start in Northern Europe. There’d be no market for it. It wouldn’t get off the ground. China needs to create this sort of attitude in their citizens. The misguided citizens create the possibility for the existence of blind boxes containing sentient creatures.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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