An estimated 1,000 cats packed in cages on a large truck were headed to China’s Guangdong province to be sold to restaurants and slaughtered for food. But the felines were rescued by volunteers in Changsha, Hunan province’s capital city, when the vehicle was involved in a traffic accident and became stuck at an intersection.
That’s according to Care for Chinese Animals, an animal advocacy group, which posted a translated account of the rescue on its website Jan. 15.
The group said the cats “were severely mistreated and starved, having not had any food or water for many days.” It said it had to pay the truck driver the equivalent of $1,600 in U.S. dollars to free the animals. Some of the cats were sent to volunteers’ homes, while most will go to an animal shelter.
Photos of the cats and the rescue operation can be viewed here.
About 4 million cats are reportedly eaten in China each year. Asked if the U.S. State Department is trying to curb this practice, department spokeswoman Ariel Vaagen told Examiner.com in an e-mail that State “does not have programs that specifically deal with this issue.”
The Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., did not respond to questions about the cat situation in China.
Chinese diners are not alone in eating animals that most Americans would regard as pets. In South Korea, for instance, an estimated 2.5 million dogs and thousands of cats are killed each year for human consumption.