IMAGE: DEAD RABBITS, KITTENS AND PUPPIES FOUND BY RESCUE WORKERS AT THE DONGXING LOGISTICS STATION IN LUOHE CITY IN EAST-CENTRAL CHINA - CREDIT: WEIBO/UTOPIA/SISTER HUA
Over 5,000 domestic animals destined for the pet trade have been found dead from dehydration, starvation and suffocation in a shipping depot in East-Central China. They were bought online and sent via express delivery to a logistics depot, but left to die as the paperwork got tied up.
The distressing images of dead animals - rabbits, guinea pigs, cats and dogs - stuffed into plastic or metal cages and crammed into express cardboard boxes are gut-wrenching. While some photos showed discarded boxes on the ground, piled on top of each other and surrounded by small cages, others showed the contorted faces of dead rabbits, puppies and kittens with their mouths agape and their eyes wide open
Members of the animal rescue organization Utopia, who found the dead animals, described the scene as “a living hell” and spoke of the sickening smell of thousands of tiny rotting corpses as they went about looking for survivors. They managed to rescue around 200 rabbits and 50 cats and dogs that were barely clinging on to life. Bred on farms, sold online and left to die.
According to news reports, the animals allegedly came from breeding farms in East China's Anhui and Jiangsu Provinces. They would have been en-route to buyers across the country.
Shipping live animals in ordinary packaging is illegal in China, leading authorities to assume the animals may have become stranded at the depot after the logistics company involved refused to sign off on a delivery that violated the law.
The shipping company, meanwhile, allegedly told the media they allowed live animals “to be transported in boxes with air holes.”
These pets - likely bought online - suffered an unimaginably cruel death. It’s believed they were left inside the boxes for roughly a week without food or water before authorities discovered them at Dongxing Logistics station in Luohe city.
NFA reacts to this shocking case of animal cruelty
“We cannot even begin to imagine the absolute terror and extreme suffering these poor animals endured before they died,” said David Barritt, Executive Director of Network For Animals (NFA).
“This is yet another case of despicable animal cruelty attributed to the pet trade. The lack of regulation of online pet sales in China is a disgrace, as is the lack of regulation of the pet trade as a whole across the globe.
The number of animals that die every day at the hands of breeders, pet shops, and puppy mills is unfathomable. These animals are treated as commodities, peddled for profit with absolutely zero regard for their safety and wellbeing. You don’t have to be a superhero to fight back against the pet trade. All you have to do is care enough not to support it.”
What you can do
- Never buy animals online or from pet shops - always opt to adopt. Shelters across the world are brimming with adorable kittens and puppies and other domesticated animals just waiting for a loving home.
- Consider donating to NFA to help us crusade for helpless animals around the world
READ MORE ON ANIMAL ABUSE IN CHINA