Over 1,000 pet cats have been rescued in Northern China, after some of the upset owners from whom they were stolen managed to track down the traffickers and work with the local police to get them back. About 300 of the felines have already been returned to their homes.
The felines were on their way to be sold for their fur and meat, police in China’s Liaoning Province said. In some part of the country, eating cats is culturally accepted and the meat is even considered a delicacy in others.
Having noticed a surge in cats reported missing in Dalian City, some of their owners teamed up to try and figure out what was happening. They soon discovered a group of men sweeping through the area at night, searching for both stray and pet cats. One night the vigilantes followed these men back to their cat den.
The cat owners promptly notified the police, who stormed the trafficker’s place and found more than 1,000 cats held in captivity. Six people were arrested. Sky News reports that the operation began at the beginning of December.
It is not yet known whether all of the stolen cats will eventually be returned to their owners, with police saying it will be difficult to track down the homes of all of them. (Scroll down for the video report.)
1. These images show some of the over 1,000 cats found in captivity in Liaoning Province, North China, after they were stolen from their owners.
2. Police say the kidnappers planned to sell the animals off for their fur and meat.
3. It is culturally acceptable to eat cat meat in certain parts of China.
4. Over 300 of the cats have already been returned to their owners. The others are being cared for.
An estimated four million cats are eaten in China each year, according to The Inquisitr.
However, while cat eating is accepted in some areas in China, it is not that common in the area of Liaoning Province where this particular trafficking operation was busted. That might explain why the group targeted the area.
Feng Dongmei, a manager of cat and dog welfare at the Animals Asia Foundation, said that younger Chinese are increasingly turning against the practice, particularly in Hong Kong, where eating cat meat is said to be prevalent. He said:
In Guangzhou, cat meat is popular now mostly in restaurants on the outskirts of the city. Most of the cat eaters are older people and old habits die hard.
Yes, they do.
5. The cats were together after some of their upset owners banded together.
6. Because the cats were to be sold, most of them were found in a satisfactory condition.
7. It is not know if all over the 1,000 are going to be able to be returned to their homes.
8. Six people have been arrested as part of the ring.
Here is a video report of 1300 cats rescued in Tianjin, China, several years ago (related):
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