Shanghai cat rescue is biggest yet in China

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2007:
SHANGHAI–Rallied by Duo Zirong, 39,
“cat lovers in suburban Shanghai’s Xinzhuang area
stopped a truck carrying more than 800 cats to
diners in Guangdong Province,” reported Zhang
Kun of China Daily on July 10, 2007. The rescue
was at least the third by opponents of cat-eating
since June 2006, when activists stormed and
closed the newly opened Fang Company Cat Meatball
Restaurant in Shenzhen, winning a promise from
the owner that he would no longer sell cat meat.
“Duo called the police and stopped one
truck,” Zhang wrote. “According to Duo, three
trucks loaded with cats left before the police
took action. Duo claimed many of the cats were
hers, but the cat dealers presented documents
showing they were from a farm in Anhui Province,
with inspection and vaccination papers.”

“We felt helpless, as China does not
have a law against animal abuse,” Shanghai
Animal Protection Association representative Tao
Rongfang told Lu Feiran of Shanghai Daily.
The truckers demanded 30,000 yuan for the
cats, worth nearly $4,000 U.S. A crowd
gathered, passed the hat, and eventually bought
the cats for about $1,300, of which one
unidentified woman put up half.
Recalled Zhang Kun, “Earlier this year,
a truck packed with cats was stopped in Suzhou,
where two crates of cats were rescued. A train
car was found to be loaded with live cats in the
Shanghai South Railway Station, but left despite
protests from local animal protectors.”
“In June,” Zhang Kun wrote, “some
volunteers working with the cats in Duo’s house
opened the gate to let out nearly 200 cats. Duo
spotted the truck while searching for the cats.”
Shanghai Daily appealed for cat adopters
and donors to help accommodate the rescued cats.
“Anyone brave enough to venture into
Duo’s house would call it a nightmare,” Shanghai
Daily reported. “In addition to healthy cats,
there are sick, lame, blind and paralyzed cats
and kittens. Some are in heat. Animals are
crammed into the dim, dilapidated two-story
house, with wire mesh on the windows. Sheets
are laundered daily but get filthy; the stench
is unbearable. Duo is up to her neck cleaning,
washing sheets, feeding milk to sick kittens,
spraying room deodorizer, bathing the cats and
saying sorry to neighbors for the trouble her
cats cause. Her cats can sleep until their
natural wake-up time and eat balanced, healthy
pet food, while Duo gets only three to four
hours sleep each night and eats instant noodles.”
A former medical doctor, Duo is a
Buddhist member of the Daur-speaking ethnic
minority. Fewer than 140,000 Daur speakers
remain in China, Mongolia, and parts of Russia.
Her entire family are involved in cat rescue.
They have moved “about a dozen times” due to
friction with neighbors over cat odors and noises
since Duo began taking in cats circa 1996, Lu
Feiran wrote.
Her first cat was tortured and blinded by
juvenile delinquents. That was a foreshadowing
of the fate of her mother-in-law, Huo Huiying,
a retired civil engineer.
“In July 2004, not long after Duo and
her cats moved to Datong Village, Fengxian
District,” Shanghai Daily recounted, “Huo
Huiying was beaten blind in a fight with
neighbors who demanded money from Duo if she
wanted to keep her cats alive. For Duo and her
family, the next three years were a time of
terror, extortion, death threats, threats to
poison and kill the cats, and many fights and
sieges by neighbors and urban management
inspectors. There were power and water cut-offs,”
and more than 30 cats were killed by the would-be
Sympathetic coverage of Duo’s efforts by
a variety of media was soon followed by explicit
exposés in Shanghai Daily, the New Express, and
syndicated coverage from the Xinhua news agency
of how cats are tortured and boiled alive in
Guangzhau restaurants. Furious reader response
encouraged Shanghai Daily columnist Wang Yong to
denounce the treatment of farm animals and fish.
While the rapid growth of dog-keeping in
China has received official notice and
increasingly friendly media coverage for nearly
10 years, the parallel rise in popularity of
cat-keeping has only recently gained recognition,
driven by the emergence of a well-developed
network of web sites, online forums, and
university-based cat clubs.
Beijing, one of the few Chinese cities
with a western-style animal control department
and dog shelters, is planning to add cat
facilities, China Daily reported in April 2007.
Subsidized clinics are to sterilize and vaccinate
cats at half price, China Daily said. Beijing
has as many as 400,000 feral cats, according to
the Small Animal Protection Association.
The report closely followed a mention
that “A pet hospital in Qingdao in eastern
Shandong Province is now providing a free
sterilization program for stray cats.”

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.