On 19 December, animal protection organizations spotted a stall to kill cats and dogs in Zhengzhou Xingyang, Henan Province, China and stayed overnight to investigate.
Staff tried to negate everything at first but volunteers later discovered three cars with thousands of dogs, cats and rabbits ready for slaughter.
According to local news, one or two cars arrive at the spot every day with thousands of dogs, cats, rabbits and other small animals such as pigeons.
On the next day, activists intercepted two trucks transporting over a thousand animals destined to be sold to restaurants for food and to fur and leather factories.
The animals were being transported crammed in tiny cages where they couldn’t move for days, without water or food and developing ulcers and infections.
Traffickers admitted that the dogs didn’t have any papers and couldn’t prove their legal origin but still argued with the volunteers and tried to prevent them from reaching the animals.
Authorities rushed to the scene when they hear animal activists were there and started helping the traffickers. They took the volunteers’ supplies, grabbed the dogs and started arresting some of the volunteers.
Volunteers had no choice but to wait to be granted permission by authorities to rescue the animals.
According to volunteers on the scene, the dogs were injured, wailing in pain from being unable to move in days, desperate to be rescued. ‘People cannot help but cry,’ one said.
They gave them water and some food but couldn’t take them out of the cages until 21 and 22 December.
No arrests were made and the stall disappeared overnight to the disappointment of many.
A protest was later held in front of the Henan province government office in Beijing to complain about ‘the outrageous behaviour of the local government.’
Also on Christmas time, over a thousand stolen cats were rescued in Liaoning Province in northern China thanks to some of the owners who got together to try and find them.
After seeing a group of men suspiciously roaming the neighbourhood at night, the group decided to follow them. After reaching destination the cat owners called the police who raided the property and found over a thousand caged cats and arrested six men.
About 300 of the cats have already been returned to their homes.