NGO in Special
Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United
Cats in China
The two newspaper reports below are 6 years apart. Nothing has changed.......
The cat meat trade in China
by IAN GALLAGHER, Mail on Sunday
11th March 2001
The honey-coloured cat gasped for air, its face squashed against the wire mesh of the cage. After several minutes it managed to jerk its head away, only to sink back and be lost among the tightly packed mass of fur formed by bodies of other cats piled on top of one another.
This pitiful spectacle is repeated time and time again at a market in southern China where hundreds of cats - just like our own domestic pets - languish before being killed and eaten.
In China, cats are reared for one reason: to be devoured at restaurants by customers who pride themselves on their exotic tastes.
In some cases, the wretched creatures spend up to two months squeezed 25 at a time inside cages which measure just 2ft by 3ft. Many die before they reach their final destination.
Such cruelty - inconceivable in the West - is becoming increasingly commonplace in China. To many people here, keeping cats as cherished pets is an act of folly.
We saw the appalling scenes at Guangzhou - the capital of the south-eastern province of Guangdong and one of China's most affluent cities. At the Xin Yuan market just outside the city, the traders are unmoved by the animals' obvious distress and do the minimum necessary to keep them alive.
Their only concern is that the cats might die while in their hands, because that will cost them money. The Mail on Sunday found hundreds of cats on display, all crammed inside cages stacked, in some cases, 12ft high.
One trader, Yanwu Peng, eagerly proferred his business card stating: 'Supplier of cats to fine restaurants and hotels.'
He sat on a plastic chair, his feet resting on one of the cages containing around 30 cats. If in the past they had tried to struggle, they were now submissive. There was an occasional, barely perceptible, flicker of movement - the only indication that any of them were still alive.
Beside Mr Peng lay a green gauze bag through which three more cats could be seen. They had been set aside, he explained, for one of his regular customers, a restaurant owner. If he is fortunate, Mr Peng will sell the caged cats within a few days, although he boasts that he can keep them alive for 'a month, maybe two' if necessary.
He sells the cats to restaurant owners for about £1 per pound, less if they are bought in bulk. They are fed once a day on a mixture of rice and animal feed.
Yesterday, the prospect of food didn't - as might be expected - prompt an excited response.
Because of their weakened state Mr Peng had to push the cats towards the bowls and in doing so he discovered that one was dead. He picked it up by its tail, wrapped it in a carrier bag and discarded it at the back of his stall.
One of the few Westerners who have visited the market is Jill Robinson, director of the charity Animals Asia Foundation. She said: 'It is a sea of cruelty. The smell lingered on my clothes afterwards and the sights I witnessed stayed in my mind for days. I was in a state of shock.
'The cats were piled on top of each other in a horrifying way. They were defecating and urinating on each other. It was so miserable. I have never seen so many animals in one place at once.'
The cats come from the countryside and are raised by villagers as a cheap and easy way of making extra money. They keep them indoors with long pieces of nylon string tied around their necks.
Because eating kittens is considered bad luck, they wait until the cats are more than 12 months old before selling them either directly to the markets or to 'middlemen' such as Yei Kung who owns the Wildlife Farm Shop just outside the town of Nanhai near Guangzhou.
Mr Kung, who buys a ton of cat meat a week, tours the villages in a van and collects the animals in wooden crates before piling them into a huge cage in his shed.
He said: 'My farm shop acts as a halfway house. They stay here for just a few days before I sell them to the markets.' His biggest problem is getting the cats to the markets alive - around 10 per cent are lost along the way.
'It is essential that the cats are moved from the farm as soon as possible,' he said. 'They are never in my shop for more than a few days. As soon as they begin their journey they lose weight and many die. To make money I must keep them alive.'
Even after the cats are bought at market - usually taken away in mesh nets and plastic bags - they are often forced to endure several days' more agony at the Da Long Shu Cat Restaurant. The cats are stored in a cupboard, jokingly referred to by the staff as the 'waiting room'. Sometimes they remain there for days.
Every evening they are moved to cages outside the restaurant and customers are invited to select the one that takes their fancy. The chef then kills the cat of their choice by cutting its throat.
One restaurant owner in Guangzhou said: 'Cat meat is very often the least expensive dish. Our customers want something special so that's why dishes like cats' eyes and testicles are the most expensive. Basically we eat all of the cat. Another popular dish is stir-fried cats' paws with garlic.'
Animals Asia Foundation believe renewed interest in eating cat is linked to the upturn in the economic fortunes of Guangdong, the most prosperous province in China.
'People have more money in their pockets now, so for many these so-called delicacies have become affordable,' said Robinson. 'Eating cat is probably more popular in the south-east than anywhere else but increasingly we are finding that it is on the menu all over China.'
Thanks to her charity, the authorities are being pressed to introduce animal welfare legislation to combat the trade. 'A few years ago,' she said, 'animal welfare was a term that no one had heard of here. But gradually people are becoming more receptive.
'It will be a slow process but we hope that things will change in the future. People have got to learn that cats are companionable animals and have a far greater role in society than being simply food.'
Back in barbaric business - the caged cats of China
by TOM SCOTT and RICHARD JONES, Daily Mail
28th March 2007
The haunting sound of animal wailing fills the air.
Dogs are crammed so tightly together into tiny metal cages they cannot even bark. Yards away the blood-spattered carcasses of others lie on the ground.
This is Three Birds' Market in Guangzhou, China, officially described as a poultry market.
But, as these exclusive pictures show, many traders on the 60-acre site are doing brisk business selling dogs and cats to restaurants for slaughter and human consumption.
It is replacement for the Xinyuan animal market in the same city, closed down last year after international outrage over its treatment of animals and a possible link to the SARS virus.
But the brutality has not gone away. The new £33 million market opened at the end of last year and so far 900 businesses are renting space.
Cages of dogs and cats - some of them bred as domestic pets - are piled high and when an animal is chosen for sale it is bludgeoned with an iron bar until it is close to death before, being handed over to the purchaser.
"The customers want fresh 'live' meat," said Huang Lu Sheng, one of the stallholders.
"When the dog dies slowly there is much more flavour in the meat. Some customers want the dog half-dead.
"Then the taste is very strong and they can prove to their customers that the meat is really fresh.
"I do not care about the dog suffering. It is only to eat and the customer is the one that chooses how it should die.
"But most customers actually want the dog beaten to death and put in a plastic bag. It's easier to carry like that."
A teenager we saw holding a hollow metal pole was an expert in "not quite killing" the animals, we were told.
As his colleague held the dog's neck with long metal calipers to prevent them moving, the young man struck each dog with the pole several times on the skull. Each swing of the metal bar resulted in a dull thump and a desperate whimper from the poor animal.
The unconscious dogs, with blood dripping from their head wounds and mouths, were dumped outside the cage. Next they were bound with metal wire and strapped onto a motorbike or thrown into the back of a lorry.
Sheng went on to explain that butchered meat is also sold, with the dogs killed before being dipped in boiling water to remove their fur.
His stall is one of at least 30 at the market that specialise in dogs - although he would not discuss prices.
He sells around 500 a month but, having only been trading for two months, he expects business to increase as more customers hear about the new market.
Even in the absence of any animal rights legislation, Three Birds' owners are wary of plying their gruesome trade too openly, and advertising for the market refers only to poultry.
At the entrance, there are cages full of ducks, geese, chicken and wildfowl. But further inside, away from the public, are the stalls trading in cats and dogs.
The cats sell for around £1 per kilo wholesale. Weighed by the dozen on large scales, they end up in restaurants, where they are sold for around £1.65 per kilo to the public.
Restaurant owners and middlemen buy them by the sack-load to use in tiger, phoenix and dragon soup - a delicacy actually consisting of cat, chicken and snake.
Sadly there were many children in the market witnessing the cruelty.
Zhang Xiao Mei, the 12-year-old daughter of a cat and dog stallholder, said: "I do not want to see this. I hate it when I see my father killing these animals.
"I have nightmares about getting chased by dogs that have blood all over their tongues."
Around 10 million dogs are slaughtered for food annually in China where dog meat is said to increase the positive energy of one's body (the yang) and improve circulation.
Cat meat is also considered to be warming, with the stomach, intestines and thighs consumed for their perceived benefits and the rest of the animal thrown away.
The Three Birds' Market proves that despite China's bid to clean up its act before the Beijing Olympics next year, on the issue of animal cruelty it still has a long way to go.
We have purposely made these thumbnails small so that you can prepare yourself before clicking them. These are not pretty pictures.
The end result of this unbelievable cruelty?
Photos courtesy of AAPN
The title of the following article from the Shanghai Daily (7th December 2005) speaks volumes about the Chinese attitude to cats.
Fudan seeks help for cat abuser
Teachers at Fudan University are seeking psychological treatment for a postgraduate student who is accused of adopting and maltreating more than 30 stray cats over the past six months.
Several animal protection clubs and organizations in the city are also sending letters to foreign universities and consulates, telling them not to admit or issue a visa to Zhang Liangliang, the suspected cat killer, as he is planning to study overseas.
"We don't want to ruin this student," said a Fudan spokesman who refuse to identify himself. "The accusation was proved to be basically true, but what we want is to help him deal with his psychological problems and huge social pressure to start a new life."
Animal protection organizations said that Zhang, a third-year postgraduate student in Fudan's math department, adopted more than 30 stray cats from an animal protection club that advertises on the campus chat room.
Students gradually noticed that lots of cats were adopted by the same person. People who visited Zhang's dorm said he never had more than two cats living in his room at one time.
"We were quite suspicious about what happened to the cats he adopted, and requested to have a look at the little animals," said Wang Binbin, Webmaster of the online animal protection club.
On September 29, four students went to Zhang's dorm, but there weren't any cats in his room. Zhang said he gave some of the cats away and released the others, as his father didn't want him to raise animals.
Prompted by angry schoolmates, Zhang also issued a statement online in October, promising that he wouldn't adopt any more cats as he was too busy preparing applications to foreign universities.
About a month later, however, a Fudan student saw Zhang hurrying back to his dorm, with a caged cat crying loudly in his hand. The student and his friends rushed to Zhang's dorm to see what was going on. They found a white kitten in his living room bleeding from its right eye.
"I confess that I used to let out my frustrations by beating cats and deserting them afterwards," Zhang wrote in an online statement. He said the bleeding cat was injured by mistake, not deliberately.
Zhang was not available for comment yesterday. Classmates say he has moved back in with his family.
Other reports state that the white kitten's right eye was missing, although the photo isn't clear. How could Zhang have poked its eye out "by mistake"? www.shangaiist.com gives a little more insight into the above story:
It seems that a sick, twisted Fudan University student adopted and tortured more than 20 kittens since September, according to an online bulletin board (in Chinese). The student, who went by the online monicker “YuhZLL,” had been trolling the animal section of the Fudan University BBS looking for kittens to adopt. YuhZLL — real name Zhang Liangliang — eventually, somehow, managed to adopt more than 20 kittens from university animal rescuers, mostly small kittens aged 3-4 months old. He later claimed that he freed these kittens from captivity.
Realizing that the same person had been adopting all of these kittens, students became suspicious. On November 29, three students from animal section visited Zhang’s dorm room and discovered an eight-month old white cat (pictured) — minus one eye — bleeding in a cage. They immediately suspected the worst for the other cats, which were nowhere to be found. Zhang threatened to report the students to school officials — having pets on campus is against the rules. Zhang said he would take the cat to the vet, but later, allegedly, dumped it somehwere.
Once the thread was released, Zhang was immediately condemned by furious cat lovers online. Major pet websites including petsky.com.cn, mypethome.chinapet.com and luckycats.com have at least 20 threads regarding this topic. At the beginning, Zhang tried to defend himself (thread in Chinese). But by December 1, Zhang was unable to handle all the critics and pressure from the internet, and he confessed at a “cartoon bar” — yes, just as it sounds, a cartoon-themed bar — to an audience that included several of his classmates, his girlfriend and his mother that he set these domesticated cats “free,” only after torturing them, of course. Here are some quotes from his words:
“Pipi is the only kitten that I treated in a normal way. I beat him very hard, too. I beat him until he has the last gasp. I wasn’t sure how long he will survive when I dumped him in the grass, he was incontinent already.”
If all of this isn’t repulsive enough, it seems like Zhang will get away unpunished. There are no animal cruelty laws in China and Fudan University appears more interested in saving face than dealing with an obviously severely disturbed young man — school officials have deleted all threads regarding Zhang from the Fudan BBS and Zhang’s university tutor suggested he simply spend more time on his studies. Fudan is also sweeping the dorms for cats, no doubt dumping any they find back on the streets.
Of course this vicious sadistic bastard won't be punished. And why should he be? How can he be punished when, in China, he has committed no crime.....?
Cat Stomped to Death in Film Draws Outrage
2006-03-03 11:05:15 Shanghai Daily, By Dong Zhen and Yuan Qi
Cyber sadists have figured out a way to profit from cruelty to small creatures, and animal rights activists say it's high time China enacts tough laws to stamp out such abuse.
Several Websites have cropped up recently offering videos and still photos of dogs, cats, rabbits and toads being stomped to death by a sexy woman wearing stockings and high heels.
These images are usually linked with more typical sadomasochistic fare consisting of a female in stiletto heels tramping on the chest of a man.
A Shanghai Daily investigation turned up several such sites, offering "Gts,'' which stands for "great women, small men" and "Crush'' products.
The pictures show how the woman killed the tiny kitty with her high-heels
Animal "snuff" videos were posted on these sites for sale at 15 yuan (US$1.87) each. There were bulletin boards for fetish fans, who could even join a group called the International Crushing Association.
At least one of the sites was reportedly registered in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
Several disturbing videos were offered for free. It was impossible to tell where they were made, and while Shanghai Daily could not confirm that animals were actually being killed in the videos, the content appeared to be authentic.
In one, a scantily clad woman with Chinese features posed with a small kitten along a riverbank, at first gently caressing the animal's fur. She then began stomping on the kitten with her high-heeled shoes, crushing its body and head and leaving it in a lifeless, bloody heap.
One Website, www.crushworld.net, was shut down after a Chinese newspaper contacted it to complain, and animal lovers left numerous angry messages on some of the other Crush sites.
At least one of the sellers, however, was unrepentant.
"These movies are not nasty; I don't think they're illegal," a man surnamed Han who markets the videos online told the Shanghai Morning Post.
Han said he offers dozens of different videos and has sold hundreds of discs to people from all over the country since he started the business two years ago.
"All the videos I sell show beauties dressed in sexy clothes crushing a small animal to death," he said. "They are selling very well."
Zhang Haiyin, director of the Shanghai Mental Consultation Center, said the people who buy these products are disturbed individuals who may take pleasure in seeing another living creature suffer because they can't achieve their own life goals.
"These people are most likely those who can't realize their own dreams."
Animal rights activists care little about the motivation behind the videos. They just want the cruelty stopped.
He Yong, a spokesman for the Beijing office of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said these videos point up the need for laws preventing cruelty to animals. China's present legislation is too vague to be much good, critics say.
"Our group hasn't looked into the source of these videos, but for the sake of these animals and for humans as well China needs laws to protect small creatures from harm," He said.
"Those who are heartless enough to harm animals may also be potential threats to the people around them."
And what did the Chinese authorities do in response to the outrage of cat owners in China over the sick videos above? 'Chinese Internet police had to block all Web discussion of the “cat-killing video” to calm things down' reported Newsweek's Beijing correspondent. It's more than a little sad that the country with the most internet censorship in the world permits these obscenities. Of course Beijing is concerned solely with stifling the voice of dissent, not with the plight of animals. It's also ironic that pornography featuring consulting adults in its very mildest forms is illegal in China, yet this foul sadistic perversion appears to have the approval of the authorities.