While it's legal to sell cats as meat in China, it's not legal to steal them. Which is why one man from Jiujiang, China, was arrested in June 2017 for illegally bating and stealing nearly 500 cats to sell at local restaurants for meat.
These poor cats were shoved into horrible conditions and transported by the man – identified only as Sun – in tiny crates. The practice of eating dogs and cats in China has come under fire, especially by animal rights activists who criticize the brutal way the animals are killed. Cat meat is eaten regularly throughout the country, as well as dog meat, and many legally sell the animals without persecution. But for Sun, it wasn't the act of selling the cats that was wrong; it was how he procured them.
The Man Lured Pets From Their Homes To Sell For $4 Each To Restaurants
According to the Washington Post, the man charged – identified as Sun – was luring cats away from their homes to sell for meat. He would take sparrows and caged birds to catch the cats' attention, then he would trap them in crates. He also took strays off the street with the same luring technique.
He stuffed 500 of them inyo creates and was offering to sell them for about $4.40 each (30 yuan). When the cats were found by authorities, they were dehydrated and overheating in a hut near a highway. Police started catching onto him after people complained about their pets being stolen.
Selling Cat Meat (And Dog Meat) Is Legal In China
It is legal to sell cat meat in China, though not all regions find the practice socially acceptable. The heaviest market for cat meat is in Southern China, and the cats aren't treated humanely before their death either. They're confined to small spaces with a lot of other cats, and many die before getting to the restaurants where they are sold. The cats are considered a delicacy, and they are sought out by diners with "exotic" tastes.
Dog meat is also legal to eat. In fact, dog meat is sold in some supermarkets in China, and there's a highly controversial dog meat festival in one of the country's southern cities. Officials estimate 10 million dogs are killed for meat each year in the country.
Animal Activists Are Trying To Stop This Practice
Animal activists have been fighting to stop the practice of eating cats and dogs. They call it inhuman – especially since the animals are treated so cruelly – and criticize how the animals are subject to mass slaughter. There have been some results from this activism. Taiwan banned eating dogs and cats in 2017. A popular festival in Yulin, called Lychee and Dog Meat Festival, could be shut down after millions protested it online. However, most Asian countries still allow the practice.