Volunteer animal rescuers saved 600 cats destined to be served as dinner in southern China. A road accident in which dozens of wooden crates stuffed with the felines revealed that a truck was bound with them to market on January 15 in the city of Changsha, according to the Changsha Small Animal Protection Association. Unfortunately, at least 100 cats had already succumbed to the death ride.
Photographs of the rescue were widely shared on Chinese social media sites, depicting rescuers unloading the crates late at night in Changsha. A spokesman for the animal rights group said that the cats were clearly destined for dinner plates. Many of the cats were white in color and appeared to have been fattened in advance of slaughter. Many died or escaped in the cold after being held in the central Chinese city for 24 hours. A spokesman for the group said that it was clear that the cats were meant to be consumed since the owners had taken little care for their welfare. More than 50 crates were piled on the truck involved in the accident, filled with cats that had travelled for days without food or water. According to China Daily, an official news outlet, the cats were bound for restaurants in Guangdong, in southern China.
The animal welfare negotiated with the drivers of the truck to buy the kitties for the equivalent of $1,600. The cats are now available for adoption. This rescue does not appear to be the first of its kind in China. In 2011, for example, trucks bearing more than 500 dogs to be sold as human food were halted on a highway bound for markets in Beijing. While cats are not commonly human fare in most of China, restaurants in southern China continue to serve them up to customers. China does not have any laws protecting non-endangered animals.
Eating dogs and cats is not limited to China, despite the European and American reluctance to eat them, as well as Biblical prohibitions. Ancient Americans in Mexico, for example, were known to eat dogs and developed a hairless canine breed specifically for that purpose.