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1,000 Cats Saved in China, Won’t Be Served for Dinner (Literally)

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By Jeff Wilber on January 15, 2013

One-thousand cats were saved from the dinner table after the truck they were on crashed in Changsha, Hunan province in China. With the truck delayed, 50 people from the community came to the rescue of the cats, which were packed into crates on their way to be sold to restaurants in Guangdong.

Saving Cats
more photos here, via China Foto Press

The truck was on its way to China’s most prosperous province when it crashed. The rescuers that pulled the cats from the truck were members of the community, some of whom are also members of the Animals Asia Foundation.

A delicacy in China, cats like these are raised by villages across the country to create extra income, and they are generally bred and raised indoors. To put it in perspective, farming cats in China would be similar to running a chicken or turkey farm in America, according to this Daily Mail report.

The cats are kept tied to a nylon string and fed a mixture of rice and animal feed once a day until they are at least 12 months old.

According to the Daily Mail, “eating kittens is considered bad luck, they wait until the cats are more than 12 months old before selling them either directly to the markets or to ‘middlemen’ who trade on their behalf.”

Praise be to bad luck.

Once they are old enough, the cats are then packed into crates, which they could be kept in for months. Though it is hard to imagine keeping any animal in these conditions, it is apparently commonplace in the cat-trading market. Once to market, the cats are sold to the restaurants, where they are bagged and typically kept in cupboards until the day they are to be prepared.

On this day, the cats are put into cages to allow the diners to select which cat they would like the chef to prepare.

According to Animals Asia Foundation:

“… renewed interest in eating cat is linked to the upturn in the economic fortunes of Guangdong, the most prosperous province in China.

‘People have more money in their pockets now, so for many these so-called delicacies have become affordable,’ said Robinson. ‘Eating cat is probably more popular in the south-east than anywhere else but increasingly we are finding that it is on the menu all over China.'”

Here’s the surprised kitty video to brighten your day after that one.

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