Over 1500 Cats Trapped in Shanghai for Food and Fur Industries
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org


Second Chance Animal Aid, Shanghai
September 2008

Some of the over 1500 terrified cats trapped in and around Shanghai for shipment to Guangdong for food and fur.

On Friday, 29 August 2008, local animal rescuers located several trucks with over seventy bamboo crates crammed with nearly 1500 cats in Jia Xing, a small city in Zhejiang Province, about an hour outside of Shanghai . These cats had likely been trapped in parks, from housing compounds and the street of Shanghai and neighboring areas. Many of the cats in the crates had collars on them — obviously people’s pets, possibly trapped just meters from their home. Their destination was (and still is) Guangdong Province in southern China , to be used for food and fur.

Photocopied “ownership” papers

The trucks were intercepted late at night in a parking lot in an industrial section of town and as the cat trappers attempted to load the trucks, rescuers called the police. Some rescuers claimed to have lost their cat, while others challenged the rather unofficial-looking photocopied documents that the head of the cat smugglers produced to support his claim that he owned the cats legitimately, having paid RMB50,000 for Photocopied “ownership” papers for them (USD$7,320 / GBP£4,067), and that he was transporting them all according to permit.

Regardless of the legality of transport permits, the condition in which the cats were packed — crammed 20 or more to a small crate with no room to move and no access to food or water, while some newborns were being crushed to death and other cats had died, was a shockingly cruel sight.

Someone’s pet trapped for the food and fur trade

Dead cat found in crate after others scrambled away

Over 15 hours of negotiations ensued, in which the local rescuers refused to pay the smugglers for the cats (an agonizingly tough approach, but buying them would fuel more trapping for the “rescue market”). By mid-day Saturday, a crowd of nearly 300 people had gathered. A local TV crew filmed animal lovers feeding the cats through the slats of the crates and watering them down to keep them cool. 
With an obvious stalemate, increasingly terrified cries coming from the crates and the deteriorating condition of the 1500 cats, several of the crates were broken and cats freed—albeit near a dangerous intersection without anybody to provide follow-up care. At this point, the area was cordoned off and further access to the cats blocked.

Row upon horrific row of trapped cats in crates

A handful of cats escape open crates

By late afternoon, the crowd was dispersed and, sadly, the remaining crates of cats appeared to be loaded onto a new truck by the cat trappers.

Although there is often little hope of helping cats already trapped and on their way to Guangdong, a focus of efforts on spay / neuter and indoor cat campaigns will hopefully someday reduce the numbers of available strays and unwittingly friendly pets going to market.

For more information about how to help cats in China, visit Second Chance Animal Aid, Shanghai, China.

In the United States, we slaughter 300 animals every second for food, that’s one million animals every hour (after hour after hour after hour); 50,000 chickens are slaughtered every eight hours, 5,000 cows a day are slaughtered in one slaughterhouse in one day.


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