Where do Nanjing's stray cats end up?
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Where do Nanjing's stray cats end up?

Southern Metropolis Daily
December 15, 2008

Everyday, thousands of cats in Nanjing are packed in cages and shipped by railway to a market in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, reports Southern Metropolis Daily. The cats, which are either stolen pets or strays caught off the streets, end up in restaurants and on local dinner tables.

Here's a partial translation:

At 3:37 on December 10th, the K25 train arrived at Dongguan East Station. About 1,500 cats had been sent on the train from Nanjing. Eight men wearing camouflage got on the train and started to move off the cages crammed with cats. Every time a cage landed on the ground, cats screeched in pain.

The invoice showed that this shipment contained 1,500 cats, and included a sterilization certificate and an animal quarantine certificate issued by official veterinerians.

The cats were loaded to trucks and sent to the Guijiang Three Birds Market, which is the biggest wholesale poultry market in southern China. Every day, more than 100,000 animals are sold here. From that market, the cats were distributed to other cities in Guangdong.

Around ten wholesale vendors are involved in the dog and cat trade. One of them, known as "Big Boss," spoke Mandarin with a Cantonese accent, while the others spoke different dialects.

Cats here are sold in cages to smaller vendors for 4 yuan per kilogram, which includes the weight of the cages and any dead animals. For smaller-volume trading, the prices are 9 yuan per kilo for medium-sized cats and 14 yuan per kilo for the bigger ones.

Following a man who bought some cats, the reporter arrived at a Cantonese food restaurant where cat is priced for 36 yuan per kilo. In the restaurant, customers ordered a dish called "braised cat," which cost 147 yuan. Describing the dish, the waitress said that cat meat has the medicinal property of "nourishing yin and boosting yang." The customers said that they wanted to try it because they were curious.

Cats are packed in cages (from Nalan Jingmeng's blog)

The reporter traced the source of the cats to suburban counties of Nanjing, where some people make a living catching cats and selling them for about 10 to 20 yuan each to wholesalers. These cat thieves are called "cat fishermen." A fisherman can catch about 20 cats in one night. A Nanjing-based organization which is committed to helping stray cats confirmed to the newspaper that there are far fewer stray cats in the city this year than normal.

In Nanjing, there is also a market specializing in the cat trade. Local police said that the market has been around for over ten years and that it doesn't violate the law.

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There are currently 50 Comments for Where do Nanjing's stray cats end up?.

Comments on Where do Nanjing's stray cats end up?

I can't think of a better solution to cat overpopulation. Why not?

oh my...

this is far worse than anything in Kafka on the Shore.

who would eat a cat, much less pay ~RMB150 to do so?

"who would eat a cat, much less pay ~RMB150 to do so?"


To answer the question in this headline...

to the Catsup factory. Duh.

Who would eat a pig/cow/lamb...? Who would suck secretion out of the boobs of a cow?

How many days before the NYT makes this a cover story?

well, the editors of southern met. daily obviously had a different idea as to what was the most important story of the day

What's wrong with eating cat?

Dog is delicious. I'm not such a fan of cat, but it's perfectly OK.

Nothing wrong with eating meat of any description if it happens to be your thing/cultural delicacy.

The moral question relates not to the species on the supper table, but rather to the manner in which they arrived there.

Seriously, is there any contact info? There's a good day's wage here on my campus for any fishermen willing to drive into the city from the 'burbs. As much as I love the little beasties, all they're doing is tearing into people's garbage, making a racket at night, and of course, making more of the little furballs.

Then again, can't say I've seen a living rodent since I've been here...

Eating cats may be no different from eating pigs... But when you eat stray animals you don't know what the animal has eaten, which poses health questions.
And stealing what may be someone's pet presents moral and legal issues.

To any of the hateful commenters above, I personally dare you to list your full name, email and contact telephone number.

"To any of the hateful commenters above, I personally dare you to list your full name, email and contact telephone number." Christopher

I read through everyone's comments and none of them seem 'HATEFUL' as you say. Why are you trying to start fights dude?

If you must know my info...

I.M. Catlover

TO LoveChinaLongTime, Father Christmas, will and chengdude:

What nationality are you?

What you are advocating is something that is illegal in most Western countries.

If you have the strength of your convictions, please list your name, email and contact information.

If you're too cowardly to do that, at least tell us what country you're from.

I would like to publish it for the full viewing of millions of Chinese people who find what you're saying despicable.

TO Christopher,

Where is it a crime to eat cats?

SGT. SLAUGHTER, you are a coward.

Again, publish your name and email and I'll forward your comments to Chinese animal rescue workers and invite you to discuss it with them.

Millions of Chinese people take the cat and dog meat (and fur) problem quite seriously. Of the dog and cat rescue groups I work with, the issue addressed in this story is of primary importance.

It is also of national importance. Every time a story like this breaks in the international media, Western humane societies attack not JUST Guangdong or other localities, but ALL of China. (Because they know that racism sells).

To make fun of an issue that is about incredible suffering and which is becoming a big national problem is despicable.

The comments above are hateful and insensitive to the suffering of milliions of animals we purposely breed to be gentle and kind to us.


And Danwei is not taking its own comments policy seriously.

Few of the comments above ADD anything constructive to this story.

But, please do leave them up, so that Chinese people can read them and see how Westerners will say things

Are you a lawyer?
If so, which law firm do you work for?

Seriously, the pro-cat meat lobby here is pretty remarkable.

Why not state your names for the record and announce to the world your support for what is being done to those cats in those crates.

Please watch this video of Nanjing cats discussed in this story, and listen to the animals crying to be freed. link

Also, look at a woman whose bravery and courage is only matched by the many Chinese activists who saved these cats.

I am speechless for so many people here are just heartless!
What a bunch of walking dead!

Taking people's pets is wrong -- it ought not matter what species the pet happens to be. It's called 'stealing.'

Taking stray animals for food is wrong -- because, as it has been pointed out, you don't know where a stray has been. Not only that, but it sounds like the vets rubber-stamp those certificates. Unless it'd be wise to go vegan in the area, there's no way they could possibly have performed the tests those certificates would require.

TO LoveChinaLongTime, Father Christmas, will and chengdude:

Again, please state your names.

People like Michael Vick are in prison for supporting the kind of cruelty you're making fun of.

Your colleagues, classmates, employers should be aware of your feelings on the issue of cat meat.

If you have an ounce of courage, put your names behind your opinions.

If you'd like, I'd be happy to meet with you and discuss your opinions about cats.

Cats are my friends, and if you dared harm one in my presence, you would regret it instantly.

What's the problem with eating cats Christopher? Is it worse than eating pigs or cows?

as long as the animal is not endangered why should the whole world stick to some arbitrary standard of right and wrong that the western world promotes?

Brrrr...it's cold here!! Gonna put on my floor length mink coat (wild minks only, please!) and have a pot of cat stew!!! Hooo yahhh!!!

To these people who keeps asking why not eat cats. Because we should not eat any animal. Advanced people won't approve taking the life of other sensitive beings, that also feel pain and do suffer, to eat, because we don't need meat to be healthy. So, it's a matter of educate and civilization. It's not a matter of tasting good. I am sure the meat of these people writing here, can be delicious too, with the right a bit of pepper. But, no thanks.

The whole thing about the Chinese is their total disregard for sentient beings. Two legged and four. They seem to lack the traits of compassion and empathy. I continue to boycott all made in China produce and will continue to tell anyone who will listen why.

a interesting side story:
Wisconsin residents back hunting feral cats

I am a vegetarian, because I believe eating anything with a face wrong. So a cat is just like a cow to me and the slaughterhouses in America are as deplorable as the cats being crammed mercilessy in these cages and sold for consumption. Cruelty is cruelty.

The fact that some of these cats are pets is extremely sad. I know there are many activists in China who work very hard with very limited support and finances who dedicate their lives to saving these animals. They are heros to me.

If people MUST eat meat of any kind (and meat eating will never end) at LEAST make it a less cruel industry. This is realistic. There is a woman in America, Temple Grandin, who has designed slaughterhouses that make the whole process less painful and frightening for the animals. Any animal deserves some dignity I believe, even if it has to die for human consumption.

The conditions these cats must endure is unbelievably cruel and painful. That just is not right, in my opinion. I would wish that the Chinese would step up their spay and neuter program so there would not be so many stray cats to prey on. And people need to keep their pets inside to prevent them from being stolen. (I do, in the United States)

I will end with a quote by the great Gandhi:

"To my mind the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to the protection by man from the cruelty of man."


Come on people, get your heads out of your butts. It is NEVER right to eat ANY living creature.

I think this is an incredibly insensitive thing to suggest. I am all for people having the opportunity to earn a living but not from the suffering of others. And if it's illegal in the west , why is it OK in the east - that's akin to saying it's OK to exploit children or women. And what of the people who's treasured pets are stolen.

Lots of sociopaths on this site.

Animals experience fear and pain. To allow the animals to suffer, torture them mentallyby killing other animals in front of them, torture them physically by packing them in crates without food, water or basic care is evil. It's not a question of making flip jokes.

I'd like to see some of the posters on this site drive the trucks with the wailing animals. I'd like to see if any of these smartasses has the cojones to kill a domestic cat, skin it and cook it themself and actually eat it. I didn't think so.

It's easy to sit at a keyboard and condone barbarism and cruelty. You don't have to smell or experience the torture of the animals. It's just an abstraction.

I've written a blog post about this but what I am asking is to do with whether or not eating cats/dogs is "wrong"? Definitely animal cruelty in any way, shape or form is wrong. Period.

However, when you have a pest problem in your country, what do you do about it? Rabbits anyone? Kangaroos? Rats? etc etc

As I say in my blog, in some countries Cows are seen as sacred not just seen as "pets" but as truly sacred. Yet tens of millions of people eat beef every single day, not to mention all of the other meats they eat.. What about lamb? Lambs are young sheep, haven't even had a chance to live to adulthood.. yet again, every day, millions of people eat lamb.

This brings up memories of the cruelty being done to dolphins/whales. It's not so much that the people are eating the dolphins because they have been eating them for generations, it's the cruelty with which they treat them and kill them before eating them that is what really matters. And that part of it is just wrong.

Cats and dogs are companion animals. Cats and dogs mean so much to many millions of people around the globe. This is an abomination to all those lucky enough to be aware just how cruel this is. For those who commit these sins against such magnificent animals -you'll burn in hell!
Also, I feel sorry for those who make light of this barbarism.

I, a civilized man, prefer other people doing the barbaric killing for me. After the killing is done, I'd like the body parts of animal cleaned and presented to me in such a way that won't easily remind me of its original form.

I, the civilized man, enjoy having a female animal forever impregnated so that other lesser men could squeeze a constant supply of secretion out of her enormous breasts for me.

I, the civilized man, love taking an (oh so cute) young animal away from his parents for the rest of his life for my personal enjoyment. Being extra caring, I also make sure his funny no good balls are cut off. It's good for his health, I was told. OH I love him SO MUCH.

Killing and eating any animal is wrong when there are humane alternatives available. Rearing animals for food is the largest contributor to global warming. This alone is reason enough to not eat meat.

Cats are cool. Cats are evil.
But cats are not food.


I bet some of you tree hugger, veggie babes here don't mind some pussy being eaten once in a while, no??

took 37 comments for someone to make a joke about eating pussy?

It amazes me that people still buy into the "medicinal value" of eating dogs and cats in China. ALL meat has health RISKS when eaten and that is factual. Animals are sentient beings that SHARE this planet with us and some happen to be defenseless against humans that choose to abuse their stewardship given to them. As humans, we need to be compassionate of other species suffering and provide protection of them. To eat something simply because it pleases the palate with no regard to how it's derived is arrogant, selfish and reflects a persons lack of empathy and moral integrity.

it's wrong to eat any animal? thank you for figuring that out now after this wrongness has been repeated, i assume, daily by the majoriry of human being in the past thousands of years. how genius!

Cantonese are embarassing.

You know, I was vegetarian for about 4 years. It was a personal choice and it was cool. I still find myself contemplating my place in the food chain and yeah, I've seen many repulsive things we humans do that push me more towards making my peace with the animal kingdom. But you know what repulses me more? Moralizing vegans pushing their agenda. I mean seriously, what's with the vaguely threatening callouts and fenqing-like mob mentality? What's next - mobilize a human cellulose search engine? I appreciate the honest conviction of using real names, but this dogpile of boilerplate sermonizing is just, well, creepy.

Petnapping is wrong. Period. Lock 'em up, put a bullet in the back of their head, whatever the law dictates. I never said anything about pets, though. If someone wants to round up a herd of feral cats, get them a check-up and send them to the slaughterhouse, fine by me. You want to socialize them? Fat chance. You want to humanely euthanize them? OK, but they still end up DEAD whether at the SPCA or on someone's dinner plate. You want to let them live wild & free? Fine, but then cold, cruel logic dictates they're pretty much game animals subject to relevant laws. And speaking of laws, are any being broken here? Apparently not. Would I like to see more? Absolutely. And while you do-gooders are posting heartbreaking photos of cats in crates, I'd hope you do the same for pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, and rabbits because day in and day out, they're jammed into crates and jammed onto trucks in far greater numbers than cats ever will be. Dog & cat overpopulation is a big problem, but I'll bet for every Chinese citizen you find outraged by the barbarism of eating cats or dogs, I can find another (or possibly the same person) who says spaying & neutering is just as cruel. You can call it a cop-out if you want, but at the end of the day it's not my country and it's not my culture. If Chinese society wants to rise up and show its collective disgust at how animals are treated, great, but if I were a PSB officer I'd yank any preachy vegan waiguoren's visa faster than a prostheletyzing Mormon's.

I hope everyone who gets a kick out of any form of animal cruelty, including for food, fur, clothes, comes back in life as those animals and feels every inch of pain and suffers the way these poor animals suffered or better yet, they are caught in the act of said cruelty and someone kicks the crap out of them.. Just my opinion...'-) . .

everyone, watch the documentary 'Earthlings' on youtube before you carry on discussing what we should eat. the hard fact is, the existing of human civilization has led to exploitation of animals for various reasons. no matter it is cat or pig or cow, we are killing animals and treating them as food. it's more a moral question of whether we should take sentient animals in our diet or not. i would side with the argument that human should not eat animals, although i'm still struggling to fight my own diet habits. i believe eating animals that westerners do not is not only occurring in China alone, if you're criticizing and feeling more furious only because this happens in China, please allow yourself to think about other places too. you would perhaps also want to lobby for animal rights there too. peace.

Chengdude, I understand your feelings. I, as a vegan, work really hard not to come off as proselytizing. In my first few months of being a vegan, I wanted to tell everyone about the information that I had learned, and I realize that came off, quite often, as “preachy”. Now, in my normal life, I try to speak about those issues only if someone else brings it up. But, I think it’s natural for issues about eating cats or dogs to bring out fierce emotions in vegans. First, basically, most people can see how morally dubious it is to eat animals that we think of as “pets”, but they are unable to make the leap towards other animals that we don’t usually see as pets. Also, there is also a slight moralist tone of blaming the “other” (in this case Chinese, or Guangdonese, in other cases, Michael Vick or the Koreans) for their “barbaric” habits, while “we” are much better, even though, in the US roughly 10 billion land animals are killed per year for food. It’s hypocrisy at its most pure form, which boils the blood.

Then there is the question of universal values. Some people are moral relativists, and to some degree, that’s much easier on a personal level, especially because it decreases cultural chauvinism. But if one is to advocate for a universal principle, say, the end of child abuse, an end to the property status of animals, an end to torture…etc (not to say that those are all of equal importance), then one should not hesitate to do so, but one should be wise and kind in framing convincing arguments, which people often fail to do.

Not to change the subject, but as far as proselytizing Mormons or Christians, what’s wrong with them? I’ve talked to religious proselytizers of all stripes and listened to their views. Some have some interesting points, but generally, I’m still not persuaded and am not Christian. What I find interesting (and here I’m not specifically referring to Chengdude, but rather to many of my expat friends over the years in the Mainland) is that so many Western expats, usually liberal Americans, despise missionaries and, by default, have basically given credence to the CCP line on religious freedom. “They’ll brainwash them, take advantage of them, change their culture…etc”. I can’t help but feel that this implies a slightly patronizing tone towards the average Chinese person’s intelligence or BS meter (which is arguably more well honed than any Westerners). What’s wrong for advocating for a society in which any idea, whether it be veganism or some religion, even FLG, can be openly debated about, accepted, or rejected?

Having read the comments, it is obvious, apart from Christopher and a few others, that the rest are silly schoolboys trying to act tough. Nobody with any education of shred of decency would encourage this practise.

its not the thought of eating cats that is so shocking, its the fact that the chinese govement find it so normal and appropiate to stuff these poor animals into cages and sell them for food.
You are nothing but sick if you think that it is acceptablable for the chinese to do this.
Help stray cats in our country.
Visit the RSPCA website and you can print off a cat collar. Tie it to a stray cat to find out if anyone owns it (if it is a stray) and if it is positive, then please help the poor animal and take it to the blue cross or the RSPCA.

This is just barbaric, and you are right: Westerners will think China is like this. It is not a matter or racism, but the fact that this practice is done in your country and is being allowed by your government. I cry every day thinking about these poor cats.
Cats are not the same as cows or pigs. They are not bred as farm animals for food sources, nor should they be. They are PETS, domesticated, and never intended as a food source. That is why eating civet cats was banned in your country, because of SARS. I only hope that those people who treat cats like this and eat cats get SARS. Maybe someone can inject cats with SARS so that people would stop eating them. It is a lot more humane way for them to die then to be skinned alive and cooked alive.
True, there are inhumane methods used in our country for killing farm animals, but that is why we have MANY organizations and people who care working hard to create legislation to stop this. And this treatment of cats would never, ever happen in our modern society. It is truly barbaric, and makes your country look very bad.
I do applaud those in your country who are protesting and trying to do something about this. I would love to talk to you and find out what I can do from here to help.
And this is not an attack on your country. I do not want it to be a debate about how each country treats animals. I just want this particular practice to END.

Ruth- I agree 100% that cats shouldn't be eaten for food, and that people could work together with people like Alice's organization to ensure that it doesn't happen.

However, some in the animal rights “movement”, most notably Gary Francione, argue that animal welfare laws, which have been around for roughly 200 years, have been ineffective at promoting animal welfare. According to the UN, over 53 billion animas per year are killed for food (not including sea animals) anuallly. So, in other words, things are worse than ever. What went wrong?

Animal welfare laws ban “unnecessary suffering”, but how and who defines “necessary suffering”? Well, it is often described as the activities that are necessary in order for the agriculturalist to make his/her money. In other words, the property status of animals will always have the effective of subordinating the animals’ rights and interests to the economic and property rights of the property holder.

So, while also trying to protect cats (I know one of my friends helped out at a shelter in Shanghai), it would also be a good idea to re-question our ideas about other animals. Which animals are socially acceptable to be eaten is often a culturally defined standard (ie, observant Muslims and Jews don’t eat pork, but do eat other animals; Hindus don’t eat cows…etc). Watching “Earthlings” and getting more info about what is deemed the “humane myth” (often with complicit and perhaps corrupt animal rights organizations) would be a good idea:


People have eaten meat for all of history. I think when humans kill animals, or plants for that matter, to eat they should have some respect and do so in the most "humane" manner possible. A friend of mine lived in Korea and witnessed not only people eating dog meat but had to endure hearing people kill them slowly as to make them supposedly "taste better" or be more "tender" or something. Now if eating dog in your culture is accepted that is one thing but killing any animal slowly or in a barbaric fashion is just not right. It is true that most people want to be removed from the killing and butchering of animals used for meat and I know beef, pork, poultry and whatever other kinds of slaughterhouses are, in most cases, not all that caring about the way the animals are treated. One would hope that a more enlightened world society would move towards being more humane rather than regressing towards barbarism. Inflicting pain and suffering needlessly is something only a sick and sadistic person could actually condone.

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