370 dogs and cats died in Chinese ‘death truck’ heading for meat market, animal rights group says

Rescuers, including local animal groups and anti-dog meat trade activists, said they rescued the approximately 1,000 remaining dogs and cats from what they called the “death truck”.

Some of those animals required emergency roadside care, and many suffered open wounds, broken bones, respiratory illnesses and severe dehydration, HSI said.

They are now being treated and cared for by local shelter staff, the organization added.

“The smell of death, diarrhea and vomit was overwhelming,” said Hao Dayue, an activist with the Capital Animal Welfare Association, speaking to HSI.

“I have seen a number of dogs and cats die on the side of the road despite desperate attempts to help them, there was nothing to do but hold them back when they died”, Hao said.

Hao estimated that most of the 718 dogs in the truck were stolen pets and the 690 cats were likely strays.

Police stopped the “death truck” on a highway in Hubei province, about halfway through the 745-mile journey from Fucheng County to Yulin County, HSI said.

The two truck drivers were arrested by police and reported to authorities in Xiantao, a city in Hubei province, according to HSI.

The trader who hired them and acquired the dogs and cats is also under investigation by the Chinese Bureau of Agriculture for transporting sick animals across provinces without proper documentation, the organization said. .

The Department of Agriculture did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

China has no national animal protection laws that prohibit cruel treatment of animals. Beijing banned the trade and consumption of wild animals in February 2020, following speculation that COVID-19 may have spread to humans from live animals in Chinese wet markets.

However, only two cities in mainland China, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, have banned the trade in dog and cat meat.

The consumption of dogs and cats is usually only found in a few selected places in China, but the practice can be widespread in these limited places.

The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is one of China’s best-known events that involves the eating of dog meat, and it often faces opposition from animal rights groups in the region.

HSI has estimated that 10 million dogs and 4 million cats are killed for human consumption each year in China.

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