Cats en route to stew pot rescued

By Zhang Kun (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-10 06:48

SHANGHAI: Cat lovers stopped a truck in suburban Shanghai's Xinzhuang area carrying more than 800 cats to diners in Guangdong Province on Friday night.

Most of the cats are now at the 270sqm house of Duo Zirong. The woman, devoted to the rescue of stray cats, has at times been criticized for confining the cats in intolerable conditions rather than rescuing them.

Duo found a parking lot where cat trade is carried out and cats are loaded onto trucks going out of town. She called the police and stopped one truck. According to Duo, three trucks loaded with cats left before the police took action.

Duo claimed many of the cats were hers, but the cat dealers presented documents showing they were from a farm in Anhui Province, with inspection and vaccination papers.

"The police believed them and would not allow anybody to take the cats, which were 'private property', unless we paid," Duo's mother-in-law, Huo Puyang, said.

"The documents were obviously forged, but the police accepted them and didn't allow us to unload the cats. We didn't want to pay for the cats, which would encourage the trade."

During the hours-long stalemate, people went to the site after learning about the incident on the web. Together they collected about 10,000 yuan ($1,300), to buy all the cats. One woman alone paid 5,000 yuan at the site.

"It's more important that we eradicate this underground line of business" than press our legal rights, Huo said.

Earlier this year, a truck packed with cats was stopped in Suzhou, where two crates of cats were rescued. A train car was found to be loaded with live cats in the Shanghai South Railway Station. It left the station despite protests from local animal protectors.

In Guangdong Province, cats are sold for their meat at 15 yuan per kg. "Many people are involved in the business. A teenager once told me he could make 20,000 to 30,000 yuan per month doing this," Huo said.

About 70 of the rescued cats were taken by netizens from, a cat website. They have rented a house to use as a a transfer center for the cats.

When the cats recover, their pictures and profiles will be posted online for adoption. A special fund has been established from donations to provide for the rescued cats' care.

The other cats are now with Duo and her family. A few weak pregnant cats and kittens have reportedly died.

"The cats live in miserable conditions" with Duo, said Xu Ying, a bulletin board administrator at and coordinator of the rescue activities.

Netizens on Movshow and several other cat-themed websites agreed that Duo means well but fails to provide the cats with suitable living conditions.

In June, some volunteers working with the cats in Duo's house opened the house gate to let out nearly 200 cats. Duo spotted the truck while searching for the cats.

"We'd like to get some help," Huo said, "and find more space for these cats. They were so frightened. Some bit people when they tried to let them out of the boxes. Some still hide in dark corners and will not come out for food."

(China Daily 07/10/2007 page5)

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