Cats killed in China slaughterhouse sold as rabbit meat

Cats rescued from the slaughterhouse in Chengdu which was closed down last Wednesday after a raid by police.
Cats rescued from the slaughterhouse in Chengdu which was closed down last Wednesday after a raid by police.PHOTO: REUTERS

CHENGDU • A raid on a slaughterhouse which killed cats and sold them as rabbit meat has discovered nearly one tonne of fresh and frozen carcasses, according to a Global Times report yesterday.

The discovery was made last Tuesday when police raided three separate sites used as a storage space, an icehouse and a slaughterhouse, Chengdu Business Daily reported.

When the slaughterhouse in the town of Shunjiang was raided, several domestic cats were found floating in the water used for drowning them, with several more either in a machine to remove their fur or in a sack awaiting slaughter, according to the report.

London's Daily Mail said Chengdu authorities closed down the operation last Wednesday after receiving information from volunteers at the Chengdu Aizhijia Animal Rescue Centre.

Its founder Ms Chen wrote on her Weibo account that it was "a day to remember and a day to feel pain and hate", said the Daily Mail.

"This is not illegal. What's wrong with me buying and selling cats?" Mr Huang Pingfu, the slaughterhouse operator, said when asked if the cats were sold as rabbit meat, according to the Global Times.

Mr Huang claimed to be an animal lover who gave shelter to stray cats, said the Daily Mail report. He would kill more than 100 cats a day to sell to meat wholesalers, butchers and restaurants as rabbit meat, for a daily profit of around 3,000 yuan (S$620). The Global Times reported that he had been selling cat meat for more than 20 years, turning it into a lucrative business from his small plant. The newspaper said hundreds of other cats were kept alive to be shipped to South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region at a wholesale price of 32 yuan per cat.

Live cats rescued from the slaughterhouse have reportedly been sent to animal protection shelters.

China has no law to stop cat meat from being sold as meat.

Ms Chen Minjie, an employee of the Cat and Dog Welfare Programme with Animal Asia Foundation, told the Global Times that the authorities should decrease the number of cats through sterilisation to avoid trafficking of strays.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2016, with the headline 'Cats killed in China slaughterhouse sold as rabbit meat'. Print Edition | Subscribe