CHINA / Regional

Activists protest against cat eating in Guangzhou
Updated: 2006-06-18 14:10

A restaurant specializing cat meat in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, was forced to close Saturday after the protest of some 40 activists that drew a large crowd including children.

Isobel, founder of a cat-protection website based in Shenzhen and organizer of the protest, and other activists started the protest at 4 p.m. with a white rose on the chest in memory of the slaughtered cats, holding banners and handing out handbills to denounce eating cats and dogs.

Isobel in her 30s told Xinhua over telephone on Sunday that they chose the restaurant Fangji Cat Meatball because it slaughtered cats in the street and "it is very bad for the students from nearby schools".

One of the banner read "cats and dogs are friends of human being. Have respect for lives by stopping eating them please!"

In many parts of China especially the southern regions, people take cat meat as their favorate diet. Previous reports said that in Guangzhou alone the citizens ate 10,000 cats every day in the winter season.

The activists, mostly women, poured into the restaurant demanding its owner to set free the cats. They burst into tears upon finding a skinned one in a fridge.

There were no live cats in the restaurant as the owner, according to an eye witness, relocated them to other places on Friday night.

"I cannot go on with my business, and I will not sell cat meat any more,"the restaurant owner said after removing his shop sign from the wall. However, he persisted in Guangdong there is a tradition in eating cats.

"We will continue to protest if this restaurant still sells cat meat," Isobel said.

To her satisfaction, many students on the spot told Isobel that they would keep a close watch on the restaurant and report to her if anything happens to cats.

Eating cats and dogs is often seen in Guangdong, but "you cannot keep eating only because it is a tradition," Isobel argued.

Miss Shenzhen for the year of 2005 Gao Haiyun also went to the restaurant to protest, calling passengers to "stop eating cats and dogs and become civilized".